Time to Change Experience coming to Leeds

Volition is one of the partners in an exciting project to bring the “Time to Change Experience” to Leeds. The new Time to Change campaign will show the small, everyday things you can do for those you care about – whether that’s a chat over a cuppa, sending a text, or giving someone a call to catch up and ask them how they are. Look out for the new TV advert on ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky, and on catch up TV.

Along with the Time to Change Leeds team, Leeds & York Partnership Foundation Trust, Leeds City Council, Leeds Mind, Touchstone and others, Volition are working with the national Time to Change campaign team on a public engagement event at the White Rose Centre on Saturday 8th February. They are looking for volunteers, so please pass this information on to people you know who might be interested…

Would you be willing to talk about your personal experiences of mental health problems to help break down stigma? Do you live in or near Leeds?


What would it mean to volunteer? Well apparently Volunteer Co-ordinators will be there to support you throughout, and you’ll get the chance to attend a free training session, with a choice of time and locations in Leeds before the event. The face to face training includes role play and films to help you speak confidently to people “and have lots of fun!” Travel expenses will be paid and a fee of £15.

According to Volition,

“the Time to Change Experience is a ‘pop-up’ space where people can learn the truth about mental health in an engaging and fun way. Time to Change volunteers will challenge stereotypes of mental ill health by talking to the public about their lived experiences of mental health problems. This is the flagship community engagement event being organised in conjunction with Time to Talk Day which takes place across the country.”

To find out more about volunteering at this event, including what to expect, training, and how to apply, go to the Time to Change website, download the poster (pdf 350KB) or contact Gill Crawshaw at Volition. Tel.0113 2421321. gill.crawshaw@volition.org.uk

Love Arts 2013 launched!

Love Arts poster

You could hardly move for survivor artists, wandering poets, volunteers, photographers, cake makers, community reporters and the great and the good of the local mental health scene. Love Arts, the three week long festival that seeks to get people thinking and talking about mental health is back in town, after two successful years in previous Autumns. Yesterday saw the festival launch, with an art exhibition, ‘Highlights’, from the Leeds Arts & Minds Network, which will be showing at the Light until Sunday 13 October.  Even more than in previous years I was struck by the enormous variety of artwork on display, and how good some of it is – certainly worth a special trip out of your way to see.

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Time to Change Leeds has been spearheading the assault on stigma and discrimination in our wicked city, and they were busy waylaying passers by and getting pledges.

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You had to accept cookies in order to fully participate, and some  were decorated with wild abandon, throwing caution and calorie counting to the wind and laughing in the face of healthy eating programmes.


There are literally dozens of things going on in the city over the next three weeks – you can see the full programme at the Love Arts Festival website. Some of the stand out things for me are:

The Love Music Leeds album launch on Friday 11 October at All Hallows Church, Regent Terrace, Leeds 6, 7.45 – 11 p.m. costing £7.50. This features local musicians exploring the connections between music and mental wellbeing through songs nominated because they’ve been found helpful, inspiring or comforting.

The Word Emporium at Trinity Church on Boar Lane on Wednesday 16 October, 6.30 – 9.15, will be a night of spoken word and music where you can earn the prestigious title of Love Arts Festival Word Champion for performing a couple of pieces in the open mic – or just come along and watch for £2/£3.

Unheard Voices is a free exhibition about the people who lived, visited and worked at High Royds Hospital, the old Victorian asylum. This launches on Monday 7 October , 5 – 7 p.m. in Leeds Central Library, and will be open during normal library opening hours after that.


Whatever your taste in arts there’s probably something at the festival you can enjoy. A lot of the things are free or cheap, and they run during the day-time as well as in the evenings. Check it out.


Radio Time To Change

Leeds will soon have its own radio show dedicated to mental health and well being issues. South Leeds Community Radio, a 24 hour online radio station, has been running a training course in conjunction with local anti-stigma campaigners Time to Change Leeds to teach volunteers the skills to run their very own radio shows.

DSC00015Tricia hones her interview skills

When Time to Change Leeds organiser Tricia Thorpe invited me to attend the training as a Leeds Wellbeing Web rep I had visions of Frasier, one of my favourite 90s sit coms, based on the radio show the psychiatrist ran in Seattle. But this is a lot different, because the people running the show will be people with lived experience of mental health issues – not a psychiatrist in sight.


On the second session of the five week training course, ex BBC man Jaz, the station Manager, showed us how to work the faders, balance the gain, cue in the CD players, and generally run a chat show format, with scintillating conversation interspersed with favourite music tracks. I would never have thought being a DJ was something I could do, and it was strangely exhilerating to have the equipment explained and demystified – it’s not as hard as you’d think.

Tricia’s ambitions are running high. She has plans for Desert Island Disc scenarios with local mental health celebs like Niccola Swan, Manager of Leeds Mind. There’ll also be personal stories and opinions by people with lived experience, news, information, music spots where people can nominate songs with a special significance, and performances by local poets and musicians. In fact its a very open format, and still in the planning stage, so anything could happen.


The show will run for an hour every month, and is planned to start at the end of April or early in May, so watch this space. If you have any great ideas you think would work on radio, let us know and we’ll pass them on, or contact Time To Change Leeds direct on their website or through:

Address: Volition, Suite 17D,  Joseph’s Well, Hanover Walk, Leeds, LS3 1AB

Telephone: 0113 242 1321

Mobile: 07577 770972