Speaking up about mental health: Paula’s first hand tips and techniques

So it’s been a while since I shared my first blog for #timetotalk and to show my support for Mental Health Awareness Week #MHAW in May. I thought I’d take the opportunity to stop and reflect on the past 18 months for World Mental Health Day (10 October).

My son’s had his 22nd birthday. Last year I spent his 21st crying, frightened, confused and ashamed that I couldn’t pull myself out of my personal black hole. I’m happy to share with you that it’s a completely different picture now. I haven’t come to this point by accident though, I’ve taken steps to keep myself healthy. Continue reading

Bolton at Home implements the Government’s rent decrease – Hooray……..?

by John Dunn Assistant Director Bolton at Home

As the Government imposed rent reduction in the public sector is now in place (a decrease of 1% for this year and the 3 years following), it’s probably worth reflecting on what it means for Bolton at Home, and Bolton at Home tenants.

I’m sure its largely welcome by the majority of tenants who feel the impact of Government imposed “austerity” policies. Whether you’re on benefits because you’re unemployed or disabled or can’t find a job, on a zero hours contract not knowing where the next minimum wage hour is coming from, or just working in a low paid job with little or no protection, you’ll be feeling the pain. So who wouldn’t welcome a rent reduction?

Maybe no one, maybe not you, but there is a price to be paid. Continue reading

Val and Kev hope for perfect tens and lots of tenners for the hospice

Best of luck to Val Hulme, our Customer Engagement Officer, and her dance partner Kev Walsh ahead of Bolton Hospice’s ‘Strictly Learn to Dance’ contest and fundraiser on Saturday night at The Whites Hotel in Bolton.

Kev gives his insight on it here.

“For the past 10 weeks I’ve been gearing up to take part. Fumbling through a social foxtrot, destroying the quickstep and staggering through the salsa in a bid to be at least up to scratch enough to not totally humiliate myself on 9 April. And it’s been fun. REALLY fun!

“Surprisingly the dancing has not been the most difficult part of the whole experience. Nor has having to cope with my dance partner Val – who I really am very glad to have met despite what our constant bickering and insistence that we’re going to change partners at the first available opportunity may suggest. No. The most difficult part of the whole experience is actually answering the question “why did you decide to get involved?” Continue reading

Food, the recipe to bring communities together

Looking back at what we’ve done in Breightmet over the last 12 months or so, we’ve achieved a surprising amount. Our Social Housing Arts Network (SHAN) project took place last year and it’s really kick-started something quite special.

Setting the scene … the SHAN is an 18-month arts project funded by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund. It wants to create a touring network for artists to deliver socially engaged arts activities to meet the needs of specific places, then share learning and best practice more widely. Four places – Bolton, Sheffield, Tower Hamlets and Doncaster – were the initial locations chosen, with Breightmet and Bolton at Home being the first. Continue reading

Taking up the challenge

It’s 10.30 pm on Friday 4 March and I’m walking, somewhere between Heald Green and Bramhall. It’s bitterly cold, one foot is soaking wet and the pavements are wet as well, as the day’s snow melts. The streets are hard to navigate, deserted bar the odd passing car. I’m disorientated and on my own and desperate for my first warm drink. I’ve been walking now for three hours.

I’ve chosen to be here. I’m on the first stage of a 55 mile overnight walk for charity. The ‘Bogle Stroll’ started back in 1961 when lecturers from Manchester University missed the last train back from Lancaster and decided to walk back to Manchester. Since then thousands of walkers have signed up to walk a route 55 miles around Greater Manchester for charity. I’m walking for the Booth Centre in Manchester, a centre that works with the homeless to help them find accommodation and improve their lives. I’m also walking for a charity very close to my heart called the Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity, the legacy of an amazing young boy called ‘Superjosh’ who sadly passed away at the age of 14 in 2014. Continue reading