The Pledge – Part One

GRATITUDE, GIVING AND SERENDIPITY

During the January Hub, we introduced a new feature into the service model; Wellbeing Pledge Cards. It builds on the popular bullet journals that some members have been using to diarise their wellbeing journey.  The cards will circulate amongst the Members and Makers and serve to capture and share, in story form, what happened with each Pledge. 

The front of the pledge cards features designs by participants of the art therapy sessions. On the reverse members are invited to choose the suggested pledge or make one of their own. Twelve members took away a pledge card, and we’ll hear back from them in February no doubt. 

The cards were introduced on the back of Maker sessions about gratitude, giving and serendipity. One of the newly affiliated Makers, Sophina Khan, was there to share her story about dealing with more than her fair share of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

She also talked about her most recent challenges, including looking after her father (who accompanied her on the day). Sophina believes that learning to express gratitude is the first step towards resilience. She says, “when I make a list of all the things I’m grateful for, it creates the headspace to I need understand it’s not all about me. Then I might suddenly think OMG! I need to call Zara!”   

Making a PLEDGE and following through gives rise to a world of infinite possibilities.

A Member Signs Up for a Pledge Card

As if all this isn’t already interesting enough, this time last year we were in a coffee shop in central Birmingham working through the design proofs of the bullet journals. We couldn’t decide which options to go for. A stranger on the next table, who had been eavesdropping on our discussion, gets up and starts to leave. She turns back and said in a loudish whisper, “excuse me!’ She points to one of the designs. ‘I don’t want to come across nosey but I reckon you should go with that one.”  She went on to explain why she was a fan of diarising her day to day travails in order to receive the “gift of gratitude”. Then, while we were still scratching our heads and wondering, she left.

Fast forward to early January this year and we’re at a community project in Kings Heath to see a film about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). We were invited along by an amazing woman called Jacky (more about that later) when who should we see there but none other than the stranger from the coffee shop!

Now, we have space and time to discover her name is Sophina Khan. She had been involved in the shaping of an innovative mental health service called Forward Thinking Birmingham. We had a mutual friend called Andrew, a doctor, with whom she had had a coffee just the day before! It was one of those “small world indeed” moments. Naturally, we agreed to meet up for a proper “get to know you” chat. That’s when we showed her the pledge cards and guess what? She had thoughts on the design of those too. 

Since April 2018, 124 members have joined the BHappy Hub having being referred by their family doctor. Many have become volunteers and/or facilitators, contributing their time, knowledge and skills to help their fellow members. We plan to test the scalability of this secure referral in the next prototype, which seems key to the balance between medical and social factors. 

There is also a growing number of wellbeing practitioners (Makers) who have signed up to support and encourage the members on their wellbeing journeys. So much is happening so quickly this month, we thought we’d share the latest developments in 3 parts. Here’s part 2: the story of “Mickey and Mum” by Phil Choi.

 

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