DCMS blog

#LocalCharitiesDay: Helping people with mental illness start a new Chapter

by

Matt Zeqiri

Fundraiser, Chapter

Hope is at the heart of Chapter’s work. Not just for the service-users we support now, but for the estimated 48,000 people in the area who live with mental ill-health.

Melanie lives with a severe and enduring mental illness. Once in full-time work, her life has fallen apart in the last five years because of her mental health problems. She has no confidence, is often suicidal, and doesn’t have any hope for the future. She is extremely socially isolated and very rarely leaves her house.

But Melanie’s life changes when her GP tells her about Chapter, a local charity that’s been helping people like her for 25 years.

Setting goals

Melanie meets Julie, our Key Worker, and they work together to set her some personal goals – simple things like “become more confident” and “use public transport” at first. Melanie also signs up for activities such as Healthy Eating Class, where she can learn how to cook low-cost, nutritious meals; an Arts & Crafts course, where she can learn all kinds of new practical skills in a peer-supportive environment; and our Allotment Project, where she can connect with nature and get free access to fresh fruit and veg.

After six months of involvement, Melanie feels better in herself. With Julie’s support, and after taking part in several of Chapter’s activities, she has met a growing list of personal goals. She has a healthier diet, has learned how to manage her anxiety, has discovered a range of new hobbies, and has made new friends among Chapter’s community.

Seeing progress

What’s more, Melanie is now actually involved in delivering Chapter’s activities – she has taken our nationally accredited Mentor Training and is using her experience to help new people getting involved with Chapter.

Melanie feels she is ready for a voluntary work placement; Chapter arranges one in a local shop. With a good reference and more experience on her CV, she now feels she has the confidence to seek paid employment. She no longer feels like she is defined or limited by her mental illness, and she finally feels she has hope for the future.

Never giving up

One thing that small local charities do very well is working in partnership with one another; while large national charities have the infrastructure to adapt to the changing landscape and branch out by themselves, organisations like Chapter need to innovate by working together. That’s why we have recently partnered up with 27 other local organisations to deliver an Early Intervention project.

As demand for our service grows, we know that with the help of our partners and supporters we can rise to the challenge and continue to write new Chapters for people in Cheshire West.

You can find out more about Chapters’ activities and services by following us on Twitter @ChapterChester or Facebook .

Support #LocalCharitiesDay now

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