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Sheffield Flourish: Rooted in Sheffield & owned by the community

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As the importance of self-care and issues surrounding mental health have been brought further into the public consciousness, there has been a welcome and necessary proliferation of organisations supporting people with mental health issues.

One such organisation is Sheffield Flourish, a charity founded by a group of people with a shared drive to make a real difference to mental health in Sheffield. The group comprised people who had their own experience of mental health issues and others who had spent their lives working in the field. It was their aim to help local people with mental health issues to realise their own potential. Sheffield Flourish does this by offering a blend of digital and face-to-face activities, from websites to co-production, art sessions and football.

In 2016, Sheffield Flourish launched its flagship website, inspired by a radical vision for mental health in Sheffield. The site is home to more than 300 stories reflecting Sheffielders' lived experiences. In 2017, they started managing the Sheffield Mental Health Guide, an information website which helps people to navigate their own mental health journey. In 2019, they launched a suicide prevention signposting website called Sheffield Suicide Support.

2020 will see Sheffield Flourish launch a brand new web platform called My Toolkit, which will form part of the Sheffield Mental Health Guide. The platform will enable people to independently plan how to manage their mental health, from collecting supportive resources to favouriting useful services and activities.

Within the city, Sheffield Flourish supports five community enterprises who run regular sessions which are open to everyone: Brunsmeer Awareness FC is a mental health friendly football club; CAST is a creative arts enterprise which runs weekly writing and art groups; Connected Worlds run courses in storytelling and solidarity; Oasis is a gardening and food growing enterprise; and Open Door Music run jam sessions, as well as music production.

The enterprises include a whole host of great examples of Sheffield Flourish's values in action. CAST's busy art group has been running for ten years and will contribute to an exhibition on the theme of equality as part of this year's Festival of Debate. Keep an eye out for news of the exhibition when the festival programme launches at the start of March.

Oasis, their mental health-friendly gardening and food growing enterprise, is funded through their gardening service, which also provides work opportunities to long-term volunteers. The gardening service currently offers two gardeners for one hour for £34. The perfect treat for yourself or a friend. You can buy the vouchers here.

Co-production has always been at the heart of Sheffield Flourish's work. From their board members and staff to facilitators and volunteers, people with lived experience of mental health difficulties are always involved.

Find out more and follow them on Facebook @sheffieldflourish, Twitter @ShefFlourish & Instagram @sheffieldflourish.

Flick Jackson

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