SERVICES WE OFFER
The centre works on a membership format. Membership is completely free, once registered members can access any or all of the following member activities.
Our activities evolve year upon year, but is principally build around three key themes – depression / anxiety support, creativity / the arts and volunteering / employability. Our current provision includes:
CREATIVE THERAPUTIC SUPPORT
We adapt the leading CCBT (Computersied Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) course, Beating the Blues (BtB), free of charge with no waiting lists. This last for eight weeks, for one hour a week. It is a highly effective treatment for people feeling stressed, depressed, anxious or just generally down. The course helps individuals to understand the link between how they think and how such thoughts influence feelings and behaviours. Rather than focusing upon the past, it teaches strategies which helps members to cope better in the short term and teaches workable skills for life. Results are quick and the therapy is recommended by the NHS. Seven out of ten who use the program are able to overcome their depression and many would recommend it to friends.
Whilst BtB is available nationally, ours has been uniquely adapted as we, crucially, pair each member with a Peer Mentor. Their role is not to be an expert or superior but rather a caring, empathic and supportive representative of the centre, dissecting progress and discussing responses whilst using BtB as the foundation of an outlet to vent thoughts, feelings and emotions on a regular weekly basis to a peer, independent of family, friends, teachers or colleagues.
All mentors are local, the majority of whom have previous personal experience of depression and anxiety and many of whom have undertaken our support themselves in the past. This is integral to the success of our centre for it is part of a self-perpetuating cycle of support, training, opportunity and shared experience, which is at the heart of the mechanisms of the centre and creates an environment of understanding. Furthermore, we have found that members are much more willing to come to the centre and take part in our services, knowing their mentor has been in a similar situation. This ensures that the quality of the relationship that develops between our team and members is long-standing and genuine.
THE WONDERFUL SOUNDS OF THE MELODY RANCH
Our monthly music podcast combining great, varied playlists with live performances from the regions best emerging artists alongside topical discussion with guests from the world of mental health. Previous guests have included CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), Definitions Project (Drug / Alcohol Recovery Organisation), Central Park Studios, Sound City Festival, Voluntary Community Action Wirral / Wirral Well, Wirral OCD Group, Bido Lito!, Freakbeat Films, Greater Merseyside Connexions, Passionate About Books and Daniel ‘Woody’ Woodgate from seminal band ‘Madness’ discussing his personal experiences of mental health issues within his family.
THE ‘OPENING DOORS’ VOLUNTEERING INITIATIVE
Everybody who completes support with us is invited to take part in our award winning Opening Doors Volunteering Initiative. This is also available to anybody else in the community, regardless of whether or not they have experienced depression or anxiety themselves, with this opportunity being very popular with students and those in training or working in related fields. It is a crash course introduction into the world of mental health, charities and community work, during which participants will immerse themselves in the world of the Open Door and gain a unique credential for CVs, greatly enhancing employability in this field and sector in general. The chance of gaining experience within mental health is few and far between, however, Opening Doors provides a credible introduction, enhancing the capacity of young, ambitious members of the community to go out and achieve their full potential whether this be through obtaining employment, taking part in further education or simply by increasing networks or confidence.
Opening Doors is a comprehensive 8 week training course in mental health, with a great deal of emphasis placed upon creativity and applying yourself creatively to tackling wider issues within mental health. Each training session is at the centre and lasts a minimum of 3 hours. Each includes a variety of hands on and interactive working methods, equipping participants with strong knowledge of the mental health sector. They will gain first-hand experience of delivering one-to-one mental health support to a peer, will take part in group workshops and will learn about the organisation of a charity and wider third sector, all whilst being positive and pro-active citizens, having tackled disadvantage within their own community. At the end of the course, they can may also have the opportunity to become mentors themselves. This is an ongoing, staff based voluntary role within our organisation which enhances CVs and overall employability markedly, along with giving opportunity to utilise and develop wider life skills such as empathy and listening skills.
Opening Doors also incorporates standardised training elements in association with Wirral Council Lifelong Learning Service.
THE BOOM ROOM
The Boom Room invites current and past members of all abilities/backgrounds to come to the centre and create music with like minded individuals in a relaxed environment, combining the therapeutic aspects of music, creativity and performance with the social inclusion that comes with being part of a band.
We manipulate the furniture layout and set up drums, a selection of guitars, keys, shakers, bongos and centre pianos and jam through famous tracks, whilst also creating original music as a unit. It is unlike other music groups of this nature as its informality and encouraging dynamic means that people are free to express themselves in a way which you cant with sheet chords and more restricted, regimented and theoretical approaches. Emphasis is placed upon playing as a unit and self expression rather than the technical aspect of music creation. By harnessing creativity we can create a environment of tolerance and understanding and an outlet for expression within the arts, in a supportive way.
It is not solely about expression, we do at all times encourage people to improve their skills base on their selected instrument. Support and tuition is ongoing and delivered by two session leaders.
OASIS – MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS
A weekly introduction into the world of meditation and mindfulness, open to all ages. At the end of the busy week, Fridays see the centre transformed into a place of peace, calm and tranquility – an Oasis.
Meditation and Mindfulness are often used interchangeably and basically refer to the same general thing — the idea of calming your frenzied mind. Meditation is a large umbrella term that encompasses the practice of reaching ultimate consciousness and concentration, to acknowledge the mind and, in a way, self-regulate it. It can involve a lot of techniques or practices to reach this heightened level of consciousness — including compassion, love, patience, and of course, mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of focusing on being in the present, such as focusing completely on drinking a hot cup of tea, taking in its scent, warmth, and taste and removing overpowering emotions from the mind.
There is now a strong scientific base for the practices, with evidence showing that regular practice can have a greater impact upon depression and anxiety than medication. This service is a great fit with the ethos and personality of the charity, in that it is modern, current, creative and evidence with proven results. Members gain skills to take back control of their life and emotions which is a very powerful process.
BIG LIFE COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP
We work alongside businesses to design a bespoke membership package which meets their needs around mental health within their organisation, applying the personality of the centre to their business on a staff facing level.
We work with management to understand their working culture and business needs so that the membership is tailored. By working on site we are able to observe processes first hand and liaise with directly with staff experiencing difficulties, feeding into our key aim or reaching those who wouldn’t or couldn’t access traditional support (full time staff will not be able to access GP and will not be open with management around their feelings on regards to myths, stigmas and misunderstanding).
Current members are diverse, including the public, private and third sectors. We are currently in the process of developing memberships with leading secondary and primary schools, on a staff support level with work also going on to support students on site who are experiencing issues.
We are at odds with traditional ‘occupational health’ providers, we are a trusted, well respected and multi award winning leader in the local third sector, are passionate about our work and our partnerships, the calibre of existing members is very high, all trainers are experts in their field, our provision is flexible, costs are very competitive, our feedback is second to none and we always exceed expectations.
Astral Coast is the live music promotions and events arm of centre, taking the discussion of depression, anxiety and mental health outside of the medical, clinical world and into peoples lives via the world of music and the arts. It quickly established itself as the premiere new music festival on Wirral. Events take place a number of times each year.
Bringing together the region’s most exciting emerging artists with established headliners, Astral Coast offers premiere live music, with previous performers including XL recordings, Domino and Deltasonic recording artists alongside MOBO winners and NME favourites.
Of Astral Coast, respected music blog ‘Get Into This’ say…’On a fizzingly hot day over the water, we took in the coastal views, gorged pier-side fish, chips and mushy peas, limbered up industrial man-made rockery on the beach, devoured the famous ices from Caffe Cream – and lapped up lashings of music in the festival we’re happy to dub the Scouse DIY All Tomorrow’s Parties.’
ARMED FORCES VETERANS SUPPORT
Weekly veterans (and their dependants) drop in coffee morning each Tuesday and Thursday 10-12, combining tailored versions of our services and working alongside Liverpool Veterans HQ to offer their support in a satellite capacity. The one stop engagement service for Wirral.
Liverpool Veterans HQ was developed By Breckfield & North Everton Neighbourhood Council (BNENC) to provide support to ex-servicemen and women and for those leaving the services and residing in the Merseyside area. Our support will include employment & job search support, access to gym & fitness sessions, creative mental health support, CV support & work clubs, volunteering initiatives, social events and access to benefit and housing support
This is supplemented by linking in with existing armed forces organisations on Wirral with veterans mindfulness and meditation forming part of Wirral’s wider monthly provision.
VISUAL ARTS WORKSHOPS
A new visual arts project in association with Periscope Productions in which members design, conceptualise and create a visual arts piece building on their own experiences of mental health that we can then incorporate into ours and partners outreach work.
Periscope are a production company that believe in the sharing of knowledge and skills, delivering Visual Arts Workshops for over 15 years. They seek to enable those disadvantaged a means of expression and opening doors to further opportunities in education or training.
THE BIG THINK
The Big Think is where arts and minds meet.
This project is delivered in association with Merseyside Arts Foundation and represents a comprehensive multi-arts platform exploring the relationship between, whilst providing diverse tailored support around, music and mental health in Merseyside. Identifying and nurturing emerging high-quality artistic talent whist supporting those in need and addressing wider attitudes to mental health.
It is comprised of an innovative arts development programme for aspiring artists of any artistic discipline (music, literature, visual arts, drama), creative therapeutic support, new artistic commissions and podcasts.
FRESH GOODS STUDIOS
Our very own recording space, located in Birkenhead Park. This is used for recording sessions of original music from the Boom Room, live sessions with local bands and podcasts.
We have throughout the year many one off or sessional activities, including yoga, cookery, art classes, introduction to the thrive program and more.
SAY HELLO TO A UNIQUE, INNOVATIVE SERVICE …DESIGNED, STAFFED AND MANAGED BY YOUNG PEOPLE
The Open Door Centre is run using charity funding and donations from the public. All donations large or small are hugely appreciated.