Employment and Well Being Project
The Employment and Well Being project is an innovative 3 year pilot scheme based in Croydon. It is aimed at building a supportive network of like-minded people living with depression and anxiety. Based on the premise of self-help, it empowers people to share ways to cope and maintain wellness and supports people to get and maintain employment. It is not aimed to replace existing medical treatments or talking therapy, but rather works in tandem to promote choice and autonomy. It is well evidenced that meaningful activity, exercise and social interaction can help in the recovery from depression and anxiety. However, at times it is also the very ability to carry out these normal, everyday activities that depression cruelly takes away. The Employment and Well Being project provides a welcoming safe place, where people can build confidence, trade skills, and get motivated at their own pace. People are valued and needed – in a supportive, practical and useful way.
What we provide ?
Depression Alliance Time Bank: the Time Bank is a “skills exchange”, based on the idea that everybody has something to offer and that all of us at some time or another will need some extra help. It’s a great way to build confidence, keep active and supports people in developing work-based skills for employment. By trading skills it’s a wonderful way of getting jobs done for free. The only thing that members have in common is that all will know the devastating impact of depression. So, an IT whiz? Need your kitchen painted? Love dog-walking? Want to learn a language? The time bank can help you learn to give and take.
Support group: This weekly group is facilitated and offers a safe space for people to share their personal stories and learn coping strategies from one another in order to help deal with depression and anxiety. The aims of the group are to foster independence, increase self esteem and find meaning and happiness in life. An informal and friendly group with biscuits and tea thrown in!
Social events: the project initiates social events as a chance to build a supportive network of friends and develop new hobbies and interests. An afternoon at the cinema? An evening in the pub for a chat? A visit to a museum…? The ideas come from those in the project. Interest groups: By joining up with other project members to build self-managed interest groups, the need to be with like-minded people who can support, understand and accept is made a reality. Do you practice complementary therapies? Want to join others in walking for well-being? Keen to join a football team? Enjoy the idea of joining a creative team to make greetings cards? Gain support and motivation from project members and join a group that shares a common goal.
I am one of the original members of the Employment and Well being scheme and after 8 months of involvement, I can look back and see that my life has gone from strength to strength.... the project has given me the opportunity to socialize with people who understand how I feel... I have had weekly reading lessons with e a lday who has given up her time despite her own problems. I have also given a great deal back to the project and have helped others on a practical level such as moving house and basic DIY. The project for me has been a lifeline and I am glad to be part of it.
Following my referral to the EWB Project, I was introduced to the time bank. I had been practicing meditation for very many years and, through this scheme, was given the opportunity to teach another member of the project to meditate. I also offered to provide assistance to a regular support group run by the project...I research topics in order to provide information to the group. This has been an interesting experience for me, not only because I enjoy involvement with the group, but also because the research has enabled me to increase my knowledge about the management of depression. Under the time bank scheme, having offered and used my skills, I then opted, by way of exchange, to receive reflexology from another member in the project. This is extremely helpful because I suffer from chronic pain and am now longer able to pay for alternative therapies. Prior to my involvement in the project, developments in my life had left me feeling that I had nothing constructive to offer others and I was struggling with feelings of low self-worth... the project has boosted my self-confidence and the social contact has also been a positive experience for me.
If you would like more information on the project, please contact Hannah Proto, Team leader, or Emily Wheeler, Project Coordinator: 0208 4079105