Improving Lives works together with people in Nottingham living with mental health issues and other problems, enabling them to believe that life can change for the better. We provide one-to-one tailored support, as well as group experiences. Our support workers impart practical help ranging from liaising with local housing, to giving advice on making simple, nutritious meals. We also have an excellent group of volunteers who provide befriending services.
Prior to beginning the programme, we had very little experience and knowledge in comms, trying our best to create a presence on social media, as well revamping our website. We knew other small charities locally had staff in post with a specific skillset and we felt it was quite difficult to compete, especially when it came to finding new corporate partners or people in the community who would fundraise for us.
We had hoped that the Headlining Mental Health Programme would give us some ‘quick wins’ so that we could see immediate changes. In particular, we wanted to grow our reach and improve local recognition, through followers, newsletter sign-ups and website visits. We needed to be able to tell people about who we were, what we did and the impact our work was having. Furthermore, we hoped to gain more in-depth knowledge and skills to helps us be more strategic with our approach to comms. We were looking to become more proactive and sustainable in this area of our work, ensuring success for years to come.
For me one of the biggest highlights of the Headlining Mental Health programme was realising that I was not alone! I knew that there were many more small charities out there doing fantastic things on a shoestring budget, but it is not often that you meet people in a role just like yours, trying to do a bit of everything to the best of their ability.
Everyone on the course had different abilities and experiences, but we were able to support each other, share our knowledge and celebrate together in our successes – it really felt like a safe place to be yourself and ask questions. It’s been invaluable to connect – and stay connected – with likeminded people through the Media Trust Alumni network.