Cheshire Community Foundation would like to thank everyone involved in the Seeing Is Believing Tour held on 10th October. The tour took a small group of Cheshire Community Foundation (CCF) supporters on a tour around Cheshire East to see some of the amazing work charities are able to achieve through CCF Grants. The day started with our CEO Zoe Sheppard launching a new Cheshire Community Foundation grant programme called “Young Minds Matter”. This programme is to be aimed at tackling early intervention and prevention of young people’s mental health across Cheshire and Warrington with more information about the programme available HERE.

The tour started at New Life Church in Congleton where we met staff and volunteers from the Family Support Service alongside some beneficiaries of the church and were able to have a conversation around the great work they achieve on a daily basis. Then the group was taken to view the most recent project Cheshire Community Foundation had supported which was a capital project expanding and refurbishing a community usage room which enabled the organisation to cater for larger groups.

After that we travelled to Visyon where we had a tour of the premises and heard lots of fantastic stories about their beneficiaries and how with the support of Visyon they have learned lots of vital coping strategies, made friends and generally have a great time whilst receiving the help they need. After that the group were given the opportunity to speak with staff, volunteers and some service users of the Parental Mutual Aid Group which provides training in solution-focused techniques and group facilitation to parents, whose children receive direct mental health and wellbeing support from Visyon. The parents highlighted it helps them feel more supported while developing improved coping strategies and have ongoing support systems for themselves and ultimately have improved ability to support their children.

Then the group travelled to Cre8 Macclesfield where the group listened in on how the organisation was established and were able to see some of the activities available to young people in action such as music projects, work opportunities through the social enterprises and youth activities and trips away are also available to the beneficiaries. The group were also fortunate enough to get to see some young people who put together a small singing session in the music room and also managed to see the landscaping work taking place outside.

Lastly a former trustee kindly offered their home for the final stop on the tour where we got the opportunity to listen to parents tell a very emotional story about how mental illness within the family can impact everyone especially because of a lack of help available in these situations. After that we heard from three members of The SMILE Group about their personal experiences with perinatal depression and again the lack of support they received which led them to establishing The SMILE Group to ensure future mums struggling with this issue have a place to go and talk about their problems preventing escalation of the issues.

The day concluded with a call to action from David Briggs MBE, KStJ, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire and President of Cheshire Community Foundation regarding the new Young Minds Matter Fund. Mental health in young people is Cheshire’s leading problem and therefore one of our existing donors has very kindly said they will match any donations made to this fund pound for pound (up to £250,000) if you would like to make a donation or would like more information please feel free to give us a call on: 01606 330607