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Bristol Independent Futures Group hosts National Expert Citizen Group meeting

Independent Futures Group (IF Group) Bristol hosted the quarterly meeting of the National Expert Citizens Group (NECG) this week. NECG meets every three months. Members of the Expert Citizens groups that provide Lived Experience to the 12 regional partnerships of the Big Lottery funded Fulfilling Lives Project meet to share learning, experience and discuss their projects. The NECG event was held at the Unitarian Chapel in Brunswick Square, Bristol and supported by the Bristol regional Fulfilling Lives project, Golden KeyRead More …

Bristol Homelessness Awareness Week already making an impact

This week marks Bristol Homelessness Awareness Week and already, one story has captured the imagination of the city of Bristol. Homelessness in Bristol is a growing problem. Within the homeless population, a large number are considered to have multiple needs. This means that they suffer from additional issues such as mental health illness, addiction, offending behaviour and trauma. Many need support services to help them out of their plight and give them the opportunity to live fulfilling lives. As charitiesRead More …

World Mental Health Day 2015 – An IF Group Bristol View

Mental Health Illness World Mental Health Day

It is the year 2015 and this week marks World Mental Health Day. Approximately 25% of people on Earth are now struggling with mental health illness. That’s a staggering two billion souls, struggling with the thoughts in their heads at a level deemed medically unwell. Here in Bristol, that equates to 110,000 people. Yet in a leading technologically enhanced nation such as the UK, I would suggest the number of people suffering from poor mental health is higher, and growing fasterRead More …

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day – in Bristol too

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention day and here in Bristol, it is important to mark World Suicide Prevention day and think about services working towards suicide prevention. World Suicide Prevention Day is marked on 10th September every year and is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in association with the United Nations. It is a day when charities that work with mental health services, homelessness, and substance misuse can unite with humanitarian organisations, refugee services, domestic abuse, traumaRead More …

Amy Winehouse – a real legacy

Amy Winehouse substance misuse addiction

My thoughts and prayers are with Amy Winehouse’s family today. I only met Amy a couple of times, but I have been friends with two of her close family members for many years. 4 years ago today, the world lost one of the most talented and gifted singers and songwriters of a generation. She is remembered every day – mostly positively, but sadly through stigma tainted media-tinted glasses on occasion. At the time we lost Amy, I remember thinking what aRead More …

6 Months improving services on the frontline with IF Group Bristol

IF Group Bristol Communications Day

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been with the Independent Futures Group (IF Group) in Bristol for six months this week. In many ways, very little has changed, but in others we’ve managed to move mountains. IF Group Bristol has opened my eyes to many of the hard truths facing both service providers and service users, some seem easy to solve, others less so. By it’s very nature, IF Group has a set of unique challenges. As an independent organisationRead More …

Bristol Recovery Forum launched by AWP

Bristol Roads Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery

A new Recovery Forum is being created to give service users, professional’s, families and the wider community a voice in the delivery of drug and alcohol services in Bristol. The Bristol recovery forum ( a working title) is being driven by AWP and their partner agencies and hopes to engage those with lived experience of addiction. The aim of the forum is to establish a central recovery hub/community that will be a warm and welcoming social space that makes recoveryRead More …

Duchess of Cambridge speaks out for Children’s Mental Health Week

HRH Kate Duchess of Cambridge Childrens Mental Heath Week

Wife of the 2nd in line to the British throne, HRH Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, has recorded an emotional video to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma attached to mental health in children. She says that she and husband, Prince William have seen how children have suffered from bereavement, bullying, domestic violence, family breakdown and more. This leads to serious issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction and self harm”. Children’s Mental Health Week takes place 16th-22nd February 2015. Children’sRead More …

IF Group to tell lived experience stories through audioBoom

audioBoom IF Group Bristol Live Exeperience Story Telling

Audio Boom is a new social media app that allows users to listen to, record and share audio content on social media. For the IF Group, we intend to harness its growing power to tell the “lived experience” stories of people using servies to deal with issues of homelessness, mental health problems, offending behaviour and drug and alcohol addiction recovery on social media. AudioBoom describes itself as “radio reinvented”. The service has grown spectacularly and allows content to be sharedRead More …

Heart-Warming Homeless Awareness on Woolly Hat Day

Woolly Hat Day 2015

IF Group were proud to support Woolly Hat Day this year – which took place on Friday 30th January 2015. This was the 5th Annual woolly Hat Day, raising awareness about homelessness and raising money to help charities such as our Bristol Golden Key partner, St. Mungo’s Broadway. St. Mungo’s provides shelter and overnight accommodation for more than 2000 homeless people and managed to raise over £34,000 through the 2014 event. IF Group Bristol is working to find new innovativeRead More …