About Us

A creative and cooperative outlet for people with mental health needs to socialise and learn new skills through strengths-based workshops which are low-cost, sustainable, flexible and environmentally friendly.

Make, Do and Mend was founded in 2010 by a small group of mental health service users and their friends who identified gaps in community care especially with regards to tackling social isolation for people who have been signed off work or who are not able to maintain full-time work due to mental health issues. This is especially sad as everybody has strengths, skills and talents but without the sense of self-esteem that comes from paid employment, self-confidence in ones own skills can diminish without a working environment in which to develop ones own skills. Without colleagues, this group has to rely solely on friends and family for social contact which can be difficult when those friends and family are all out at work or if these relationships are difficult. There is also a lack of access to information and support for this community group. Often relying on GP’s who are not specialised in mental health and who do not always have awareness of the resources (however few) which are available to this group. 

Make, Do and Mend has been set up to provide workshops for people who experience mental distress. These workshops aim to promote recovery by developing self-esteem through the mastery of skills. All workshops are developed using a strengths-based approach and it is important to Make, Do and Mend that they be flexible and demand led in terms of our members’ interests. We have also implemented a strengths-based approach across our organisation as we hope to empower people and foster individual achievement in all areas of the organisation. Not only do we hope to share and impart skills for the benefit of our members but in doing so we also wish to promote self-discovery and build self-esteem so that our members are better equipped to enter the job market. There is much research to show that people who suffer with mental health distress can achieve just as much success in their chosen careers as those who are fortunate enough not to suffer. Furthermore, a routine, financial independence and interaction with colleagues often means a better quality of life for our members. For more information on the strengths-based approach please see the attachment below. 

Although the primary objective of running our workshops is to provide strengths-based skills training for our members, the secondary but nevertheless equally important function of our workshops will be to provide an informal peer support group which we hope will go some way towards combating the social isolation that our members are often prone to experiencing. Furthermore, we want to welcome our members’ friends, carers and families to get involved and come along to our workshops. This is because we value and want to encourage our friends and families support and understanding which is so important to our members. We also hope this approach will go some way in helping to dispel the myths about mental health illnesses.

Providing more information on mental health services was one of the reasons that Make, Do and Mend was founded and it remains one of the organisation’s main charitable objects. In providing information about other mental health resources we hope to promote stronger networks of support for our members and create partnerships with similar organisations. 

There will be many opportunities for our members and supporters of Make, Do and Mend to contribute through our volunteering programme. We know that everyone is different and that we all have different skill sets and strengths and we want to celebrate these rather than dwell on our difficulties. So whether it be through our workshops or internal organisational needs we welcome all the help we can get.

Alice Webb,
15 Feb 2011, 09:03