Knowledge Bar with a social purpose in Manchester, January 18

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Our friends at 42nd Street – the project now 36 years old – illustrate their continuing creativity and commitment to their roots. True to their philosophy amidst the gloom and stress, giving folk in Manchester something to smile about.

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Manchester-based mental health charity 42nd Street is inviting the public to their Knowledge Bar; a social evening with purpose, Thursday 18th January 6.30 -9pm at The Horsfall, 87 Great Ancoats Street, M4 5AG.

Each month Knowledge Bar aims to improve Manchester’s wellbeing with healthy food and drink tastings, creative workshops and talks by professionals with insight into how to live a more balanced life.

The event is held at 42nd Street’s creative venue The Horsfall, opened just a year ago with the aim of improving young people’s mental health and wellbeing through creative activity.

The idea for this public event came from research which uncovered stories of 18th Century Salons held in Ancoats and which gave people an opportunity to socialise and share ideas and knowledge.

42nd Street has taken inspiration for the project from the Ancoats Art Museum; a unique social and artistic experiment established in Ancoats, Manchester at the end of the 19th Century. Its founder, Thomas C Horsfall sought to promote wellbeing and social change through contact with art and nature. Horsfall filled the museum with artworks, sculptures, music recitals, public lectures and even live birds in a bid to make the lives of those living in the surrounding slums more bearable. The Horsfall project will draw on this rich, but little-known story and make it relevant and useful to young people across the city today. {Extract from earlier publicity}

This month you can learn to roll your own sushi with Sahabat Boat Café, pick up tips for turning chaos into calm with The Clutter Fairy and upcycle what otherwise might be thrown away with Taylor Made with Love.

The event is free.

How do we get mental wealth?

A Long Read for the weekend about how we achieve mental wealth. It is a welcome shot across the bows of professionals, including youth workers, who act as if the dilemmas are individual rather than social and political.

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Alliance blog

In his address to a Labour Party conference fringe event, Paul Atkinson examines the social and political forces at work in our society’s current approach to psychological distress and asks what we need from a new government to support and nourish the nation’s mental wealth.


For whatever reasons – reasons that I think are very important and need to be explored – the emotional and psychological difficulties of living in this society are becoming increasingly visible and alarming: in our families; in our schools and colleges; in our local communities; in the attention drawn to mental ill health by (social) media, charities and celebrities, as well as politicians and social policy makers.

Should we think of this growing attention to mental health and the emotional conditions of contemporary life as a sign of growing awareness of the pain and suffering that has always been with us, hidden away in the private closet…

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42nd Street pulls off remarkable creative coup

Our friends at 42nd Street –  the project now 35 years old – illustrate their continuing creativity and commitment to their roots. True to their philosophy amidst the gloom and stress, giving us something to smile about.

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Mental health charity 42nd Street to launch a new venue and programme for heritage, arts and mental health with investment from Heritage Lottery Fund, LandAid and the Redevco Foundation.

The Horsfall corner view

42nd Street, a Manchester-based mental health charity working with young people under stress, has today received £516,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with further support from LandAid and the Redevco Foundation to enable the opening of its new venue, The Horsfall, in May 2016.

The Horsfall builds on 42nd Street’s trusted and innovative approach to improving young people’s mental health. The programme will see national and international artists, makers and heritage experts, working with local young people to reinterpret stories from the past, their own stories and to imagine new futures.

On Monday 3rd November at 4pm, BBC Radio 4 will broadcast Taking Art to the People a 30 minute documentary exploring the history of the Ancoats Art Museum and how 42ndStreet is building on its legacy.

The project will begin with the renovation and repurposing of an empty, Victorian shop into a three storey, dedicated creative space by Manchester based architects Stephenson STUDIO. The launch programme (2016-18) includes a site specific theatre experience, visual arts exhibitions, online collaborations between young people in the UK and Los Angeles and opportunities for young people to develop creative skills for a commercial market.

42nd Street has taken inspiration for the project from the Ancoats Art Museum; a unique social and artistic experiment established in Ancoats, Manchester at the end of the 19th Century. Its founder, Thomas C Horsfall sought to promote wellbeing and social change through contact with art and nature. Horsfall filled the museum with artworks, sculptures, music recitals, public lectures and even live birds in a bid to make the lives of those living in the surrounding slums more bearable. The Horsfall project will draw on this rich, but little known story and make it relevant and useful to young people across the city today.

The innovative programme of workshops, performances and exhibitions will be led by Julie McCarthy; 42nd Street’s Creative Producer and will bring young people together with some of the best creative minds to reimagine how we engage with heritage and the arts.

Read more at http://42ndstreet.org.uk/news/press-release/

Mental health informed youth work: Critical Reflections

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In a guest blog on the Changing Minds, Changing Lives web site Susan Blishen takes stock of  what the Right Here initiative learned and achieved, and what could come next.

Right Here was a five-year young people’s mental health and wellbeing programme developed and managed by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation. It funded four local partnerships – in Brighton and Hove, Fermanagh, the London Borough of Newham, and Sheffield – to work with young people aged 16 – 25 to co-produce and deliver mental health and wellbeing activities, projects, research and opportunities. The programme ran from 2009 – 2014.

Her sober and thoughtful reflections are a welcome change from the self-congratulatory evaluations, which have become the norm in the competitive funding culture created by the marketisation of the youth sector.

She begins:

Summing up over half a decade of activity in four sites across the UK is difficult. Working out what this activity actually means for those who might follow in its footsteps doubly so. We’ve concluded that where Right Here worked well it was a kind of mental health informed youth work; taking everything that’s brilliant about youth work and youth workers and simply focusing it more closely on the mental health and wellbeing of young people.

When we set up Right Here, way back in 2009, we imagined we were going to change the world, or at least the policy and practice world around young people’s mental health and wellbeing. We talked about creating a new service model around young people’s mental health that would reduce the numbers of young people developing treatable mental health problems.

Five years on and we are a lot wiser. Our original ambitions were tempered by austerity and the radical changes to the health and social care structure that came with the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Together with Mark Brown Susan has produced a series of articles, which focus upon the practical lessons learnt by Right Here about ways to manage, develop, evaluate and carry out youth work-led mental health projects for young people. Through extensive use of young people’s own thoughts these bring Right Here to life.

Susan comments, I hope some of you will get the opportunity to test these hypotheses in practice, to learn as you go, and to make that learning available to others, just as we’ve done. From my six years’ experience in the field, I’d say this is just what the sector needs.

Thanks to Tom Wylie for the initial nudge to this work and its evaluation.

Amongst the titles are:

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