Something new is brewing at Designs in Mind, something we have not done before. It is early days, and with most things here we experiment, keep talking and make changes when we need to.
Lives are complex, in the studio people are often talking about the constant questioning, demands, pressures from people and organisations that are supposed to make life better? Housing, Health, Benefits, Education, Employment make life complicated.
We are a making and design studio, operating at a time when more people are looking for help and when a lot of the help that was there, is now gone. Members are reporting continuous changes to support systems, staff are changing, services are closing and there are so many organisations and systems in the process of getting someone in to work, or reviewing benefits or dealing with housing applications- at any moment it can fail and this has serious consequences.
We do know, however, that we don't operate in isolation and that we could do more if the relationships with some of the people and organisations that are there, were stronger and closer.
So this is what we are doing, developing a 'Listen and Connect Team', an opportunity to close the gap and reduce the impact of those times when the system doesn’t just click in to place.
These are the principles we are discussing that will guide this work...
Designs in Mind is first and foremost a making and design studio, that is our area of expertise and purpose- ambitious, experimental, high quality art and design work. Talking, listening and peer support all happen across the studio, and we recognise that sometimes people need more space and more support.
Respect not responsibility- We’re kind, we’re alongside but it’s not on us to fix each other’s life. Respect also means calling each other out when we don’t like something. (Brilliantly phrased by our friends Camerado's)
Mix things up- We will aim to involve the greatest mix of people. It brings greater possibilities, more ideas, better understanding. We are part of a wider network and community. (Brilliantly phrased by our friends Camerado's)
We are not offering therapy or counselling. We are offering a space to talk, be heard, to think and for people to make their own decisions about changes in their lives.
This is not case work so we are not keeping records. People are encouraged to not always see the same person within the team. Listen and Connectors will follow existing and developing safeguarding procedures for records. Confidentiality is defined as within the Listen and Connect Team, not to an individual.
Listening support is valued for everyone at Designs in Mind- Member, Volunteers and Staff.
What is Listen and Connect?
Facilitated by 1:1’s with someone from the Listen and Connect Team…
A space to talk and be heard when help or support is needed, and an opportunity for a connection to be made, in person, online or by phone, to more support
A space to talk and be heard, to check in with yourself and all that is held inside. An opportunity to think and process things before it really gets too much.
Facilitated Group Peer support
A space to participate, be challenged and be proactive about making changes in life, supported by people who understand.
The team will be led by Delyth, who has recently started at Designs in Mind and has already made a huge difference. We are now looking to recruit a team of volunteers to work alongside her, in the studio, and maybe you would like to get involved. You can read more about it here and if you are interested please email catherine @ designsinmind.co.uk
In addition to this, and as an external contract, we are also currently recruiting for listening/ supervision support for the staff and volunteer team at Designs in Mind. You can read more about this here.