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Spring 24 News

Spring 24 News

Festive cheer from The Funding Network!

Christmas came early for us when we were invited to pitch at a very special evening in early December. The Funding Network links potential donors to charitable causes through regular live crowdfunding events. We are fortunate that TFN member, Pam Walker, is a family friend of our Trustee, Astral Blanchard and her mum, Nuala. Pam kindly nominated BiM and we made it through a very rigorous application and selection process, which led to us being invited to present at their ‘Festive Connector’ event, hosted by Macquarie Group in central London.

Jim Cumpson (l) with representatives from Vavenger and Hackney Playbus who also pitched for funding.
BiM at the Funding Network

TFN members and guests enjoyed wine and canapes whilst listening to presentations from Boys in Mind and two other brilliant charities. Jim spoke about our work with tremendous warmth and compassion and then it was time for the pledging to begin! It was very moving to hear just how much our work resonated, as guest after guest called out their pledges. Our totaliser reached an incredible £22,725, which far surpassed even our wildest expectations. It was a fabulous evening and humbling to realise just what support there is out there for our cause. Huge thanks to Pam and her husband Michael, as well as to our dedicated BiM team attending on the night!

Remembering and celebrating Henry

Henry Biggs 1
Henry Biggs 1999 - 2022

This month, we remember Henry Biggs, who took his life on 23rd February 2022, aged 23. We’re very grateful to his remarkable family, who have not only been tirelessly fundraising on behalf of BiM but have also allowed us to make a series of short films in which Henry’s father, sister, uncle and cousins reflect on their feelings around his death, share some memories of Henry and talk about what they do now to look after their own mental health. To be so honest and articulate following such a profound loss is humbling, but they are all keen for suicide to be talked about more openly, in the hope that this may help others.

A huge thank you to Ian, Poppy, Graham, Emma and Laura for their powerful stories which will shortly be released on our website and social media to coincide with the anniversary of Henry’s death. You can find out more and how to watch these moving films on our Remembering Henry web page.

Lily swims for Henry

Last August, Lily Wearden (a friend of the Biggs family) did something amazing for us in Henry’s memory. Her initial idea, to swim the Channel, turned out not to be feasible, but undeterred, she chose to swim the length of Loch Lomond, which is the same distance (21 miles). The fact that Lily did it in one go, without a wetsuit and during a yellow weather warning, makes her feat even more remarkable. 

Lily tells it in her own words: ‘This honestly felt – and feels – like the most important thing I have ever done. Cold water swimming was a non-metaphorical lifesaver for me when I was struggling with my own mental health, so this challenge was as much about overcoming personal battles as it was about supporting other people with theirs. It probably ended up being even more of an emotional challenge than a physical challenge.

Lily (in the water) with her support kayak

It was kind of the best and worst day of my life. I had an incredible support team keeping an eye on me and joining me in kayaks for small sections – and my amazing little sister swam 5k by my side with no training at all! Henry was one of her first friends when she was little, so I know how important it was to her as well. But even with all that support, there were sections that I swam for multiple hours just crying – I’m not sure whether I was in physical pain or just feeling all the emotions that went into getting me there and the pressure I’d put on myself to complete it for all the people who donated to such an important cause. I’m so proud that I did it, but more than anything, I hope that I’ve honoured Henry’s memory in some way.

Henry and his family mean the absolute world to me and there aren’t really words for what they have gone through. I honestly struggle so much to talk about the subject and have felt a bit helpless. I think doing something like this was always going to say more than I ever could with words. As a side note – cold water swimming is now recognised as a viable intervention for depression, which is super exciting!’

Her mammoth swim raised almost £2,000 towards our work – thank you Lily!

Join the Bim Jump Team and do a sponsored tandem skydive!

skydive 3 (3)

Skydiving with BiMFancy a challenge? How about joining us for a skydive? We have partnered with GoSkydive, the UK’s premier tandem skydive specialist, based in Salisbury, Wiltshire, to do a dedicated ‘BiM jump day’ on Sunday, 21st April 2024.

Your commitment? You pay a deposit of £50 and we pay the rest of your jump fee: in return, you commit to raising at least £400 sponsorship for Boys in Mind. This is a great opportunity to tick off an item on your bucket list and raise money for BiM at the same time! For more information on how you can join the BiM Jump Team, please contact: Vanessa@boysinmind.co.uk

Grow for Life – students are flourishing

Grow for Life is a Bath based charity that aims to transform lives through gardening, providing social and therapeutic gardening sessions for people suffering with low confidence, anxiety, depression or isolation. With regular sessions in and around Bath, Grow for Life offers a way to connect with new people, grow in confidence and learn new skills. As part of this, BiM has been working with a group of students from Beechen Cliff School and here’s just a few of their comments…

I am getting better at talking to others’     ‘I have learnt how to calm myself’

I have discovered that I can be strong when it comes to digging’

Being outside and getting fresh air helps me not to get stressed’

I am getting better at working in a team and learning new skills’

We’ll be reporting back later in the year with a full update on Grow for Life and the Beechen Cliff students. To find out more and how Grow for Life could benefit you or someone you know, click the link above.

Grow for life 1

JIGSAW – find your missing peace

JIGSAW - Joy, Inclusion, Giving, Sleep, Active and WOW promotes welbeing in children.
A short animated film created by young people to highlight how JIGSAW – Joy, Inclusion, Giving, Sleep, Active, Wow can actively help promote a sense of wellbeing in children.

JIGSAW is a stop-motion animation about friendship and finding ‘your missing peace’ (we rather liked this play on words, we hope you agree!). In our film, the two friends explore what works for them to support their mental health. JIGSAW stands for Joy, Inclusion, Giving, Sleep, being Active and treasuring your Wow moments!

We wanted this film to directly appeal to young people, encouraging them to explore the tools we can all use to promote good mental health in a fun and relatable way. The voices you hear come from some of the young people we work with and the animation was created by a group of talented young filmmakers from the Southwest – you can enjoy it HERE!

Stop press! We have just learned that JIGSAW is a finalist in this year’s Charity Film Awards

Click HERE to find out more about the CFA awards, to watch our nominated film JIGSAW and to register to vote.

Exeter College - Staff Development

Jim from BiM working with staff at Exeter College

Jim was invited to attend Exeter College’s recent staff development day as a guest speaker. Rated outstanding by Ofsted, the college offers a range of A levels and apprenticeships. Jim delivered a workshop on supporting young people with their mental health to around 25 lecturers, tutors and support staff and received a really positive response. He also spoke about our work and how to start those all-important conversations. We’re planning to do some further work with the College and its students, including a film and podcast.

January Quiz Night

Friends and supporters packed the New Oriel Hall in Larkhall, Bath, on Friday 26 January for another of our sell-out quiz nights.

BiM Fundraising Quiz night
BiM Fundraising Quiz night at Oriel Hall, Bath

Quizmaster Richard kept things fast and furious and the bar and raffle did a brisk trade! Jim, our CEO, spoke movingly about our work as, of course, this kind of social event is also a great opportunity to increase local awareness. The evening raised a hugely welcome £1,300. Thank you to everyone who attended and to the local businesses who supported us by donating a raffle prize.

Water great idea – carry a BiM bottle and help save the planet!

We have partnered with BiM Trustee, Jon, at Bath-based Bullfrog to create a BiM water bottle. In vibrant orange and bearing our logo, they’re a real talking point – you’ll be showing support for Boys in Mind and reducing plastic waste at the same time: win-win! The bottles cost £25 each and are currently only available instore here.

Boys in Mind working in local schools

We have been working with staff and pupils at Three Ways School to help them with their plans for a film to celebrate what the pupils and staff do to make themselves feel good. The film is still in development, but hopefully we can bring you the results in  the next few months.

We’ve also been working with the pupils and staff at Farmborough Church Primary school to develop a whole school approach to support pupils’ wellbeing. We staged an animation workshop to introduce the pupils to the concept and they will shortly be making their own version of our JIGSAW film! Over coming months, they will be writing the scripts, making their characters, recording the voices and filming their animation. We will then help with edits and stage a red carpet event to celebrate! So watch this space for further announcements.

Farmborough Church Primary School logo
Three Ways School logo

March 2024

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