Customers have enthusiastically endorsed a new partnership to improve the wellbeing of people across South Gloucestershire.
The Wellbeing College is a new partnership between ourselves and a host of local organisations including Second Step, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, South Gloucestershire Council and more. It’s the first of its kind in the area and offers people the chance to sign up to courses and activities covering topics such as managing anxiety, money management, and learning new IT skills.
The college was officially launched last week at a packed Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. Merlin customer Debra Nott, was one of those who spoke at the event.
“I am so excited about the creation of the wellbeing college,” she said. “In this fast-paced world it’s increasingly hard to achieve good mental wellbeing.
“On a good day I can do the work of many; on a bad day it can be a struggle to do anything. Sometimes I literally feel like a computer that need to be rebooted. But over the past few years I feel I have had so much support from Merlin, which has helped me begin to research my full potential.“
Fellow customer William Lusmore who attended the launch said he thought the college would have a positive impact on people.
“I think it’s going to be very successful,” he said. “I think people are going to learn a lot about themselves and how they can change and improve their lives. It’s great to see how many organisations are getting involved in this and supporting it.”
Over the first year the service aims to support more than 700 people to make positive changes to their lives. Cam Kinsella, Merlin’s Leader for DEI and Partnerships said she was excited about the launch of the college and was looking forward to seeing the difference it would make to people’s lives.
“This education and empowerment model really invests in the power of people. It teaches people how to improve their own lives in an environment supported by a whole host of fantastic partners. The Wellbeing College will plug an ever increasing gap for people with low level mental health disorders and will add to the local mental health offer – meaning more support for you when needed.”
Amanda Hedley-White from Second Step explained that what makes this difference from other services, was that the focus is all on the student.
“The college is based around the student and the student makes the choice. They choose what they want to do rather than the expert saying ‘I think this is what would be good for you.’ You are the expert on yourself so it should be you making the choices.
“It’s really strength-based way of working. We look at what strengths a person has rather than what they are struggling with. We want to acknowledge that people have massive struggles in life but we want to look at the strengths that they have developed to deal with this.”