March 2021: As we approach the first anniversary of lockdown, we remember the benefits of keeping the SPARC garden tidy and beautiful, in the absence of other members of staff and the SPARC gardening group. Who can forget the amazing crop of tomatoes? Those succulent courgettes! We are still eating up the remaining chillies…! So as Spring is here again, we have decided once again to take over the garden and, as time will allow, get busy with the planting.
February 2021: With a huge amount of help from SPARC Management, we have finally completed a bid for some long term funding from the Henry Smith Charity. Should our bid be successful, the funding will enable us to recruit some administrative support and allow us to strategically plan for the long term future of MaaD! We are excited about all the plans that could and will come to fruition should this bid be successful.
January 2021: A difficult month for us and the people we see. Many of us had relied on our resilience and kept going through lockdown, without seeking help because of an uncertainty about the availability of help, and because help that that had previously been available was withdrawn or reduced. Many of us hit crisis point and then found that the crisis services were busy, overloaded, unhelpful, unresponsive or dismissive. However, we are all still here, still breathing and still surviving.
In other news… our Stockport County facemasks arrived! MaaD cannot wait to have a presence at Edgeley Park again.
December 2020: We were thrilled to have the opportunity to lead two Zoom sessions with first year Social Work Undergraduates from the University of Salford talking about what we do, how and why we do it and hopefully passing on the message that surviving an attempt is ordinary, that thoughts and feelings of wanting to top yourself are not wrong and should not be feared or hidden away.
December 2020: It’s Christmas, but not Christmas as usual…MaaD did not stop working throughout the holiday period and even though the Christmas Tree Festival at St George’s Church didn’t quite go ahead as usual this year, we still had a MaaD Christmas Tree at SPARC, with additional decorations by one of our very creative survivors!
November 2020: We had some really positive meetings with Stockport TPA (The Prevention Alliance) and the Red Cross discussing the impact of the pandemic on the people that we work with and support and looking at ways in which we can collaborate and work together more closely. It is good to hear that MaaD is valued and respected within larger charities and organisations!
November 2020: Having some creative fun with the chalkboards in Albert’s Courtyard!
October 2020: ‘Team Avanti’ from Stockport Station completed the most amazing fundraising challenge in support of Man about a Dog. Despite having to rearrange the challenge several times during lockdown, it was finally completed and they raised over £1,200 for us! THANK YOU TEAM AVANTI!
October 2020: Following the ‘Rule of Six’, we continued our drop ins at the StartPoint Cafe in Woodley. We met new survivors every week and became known as ‘the table that laughs a lot’. Even after our attempts, we can find humour and laughter in the difficulties of surviving; surviving.
September 2020: We have drop ins every Sunday at SPARC where survivors can hang out, chat and do some art! Here are the hands of three survivors, each with their own features and their own stories but with one thing in common that transcends our other differences.
August 2020: We finally finished our courtyard! So grateful for the generous donations of money, furniture and people’s time to help us get it looking so good. It’s a perfect outdoor space for us to meet other survivors!
July 2020: After living in the corner of the SPARC Staff Room for the last couple of years, we were delighted to be given an office of our own! It’s a lovely space where we can meet survivors in privacy. Our next job is to tidy up the courtyard outside so we can use that to meet people on a sunny day!
July 2020: The lovely Kay Keane, Practice Manager at Alvanley Family Practice, Woodley Medical Centre, invited us to take part in a Facebook Live Chat about what we do, how we do it and why we do it. Nervewracking but very exciting and enjoyable! The link is on the Man about a Dog Facebook Page
LOCKDOWN!! We did not stop meeting survivors face to face during lockdown. We met people in precincts, parks, at their front gates and at the lovely SPARC garden (all at a safe distance of course). We were disappointed that many exciting meetings had to be cancelled, but despite lockdown we have secured our funding for the next 12 months from Stockport Public Health and the Stockport Local Fund. We have continued to develop our relationships with the Brinnington Hub, StartPoint Coffee Shop in Woodley and with the new Open Door service in Stockport, established by Safe Haven. We have restarted our regular drop ins in Woodley Precinct. Here are some photos from the last few months!
February 2020: We attended the Stockport Community Organising Social Action Hub, where we made some useful contacts and saw some of our friends and supporters. We also completed our funding bid for the second round of the Stockport Local Fund. Fingers and everything else crossed!! We continued our drop ins at Alvanley Family Practice, Woodley Medical Centre, the Woodley StartPoint Cafe and at Brinnington Health Centre.
MaaD is now in contact with over 100 survivors, and we have over 400 people following us on Facebook. Our brass necking, persistence and consistency is paying off as we continue to spread the word that surviving is ordinary, you are not on your own and you can keep going on your own terms!
January 2020: We had a very exciting opportunity to visit Blackmorevale Medical Practice in north Dorset; they would like to emulate the work of MaaD by setting up their own project. We spent a fantastic and very busy few days making a real impact on the staff and patients, as well as meeting the health policy writer and blogger Roy Lilley, staff from the King’s Fund and Altogether Better. There was lots of innuendo about Dorset Knobs and Manchester Tarts!
January 2020: We continued our presence at Stockport County and met more staff there, and had some fans contact us. We are now recognisable in our new hats!
December 2019: We had our final drop in of the year at Woodley surgery where Albert made a special guest appearance! However, he was not too pleased with his new Christmas outfit! Other services closed over the Christmas period for a “well-deserved break” but MaaD remained open and contactable all over the Christmas and New Year period. Suicidal thoughts and attempts do not stop during public holidays!
November 2019: We continued our presence at every home game of Stockport County Football Club, as we seek to strengthen our links with the Club. We had more drop ins at Alvanley Family Practice, Woodley Medical Centre and at Brinnington Health Centre. We were also very excited to display a MaaD Christmas Tree at the Christmas Tree Festival at St George’s Church!
October 2019: A very busy month! We held drop ins at Alvanley Family Practice, Woodley Medical Centre and at Brinnington Health Centre. We were at Woodley StartingPoint cafe twice, an evening event raising awareness about surviving suicide attempts and we had a drop in there as well. We were at Stockport Station, we spoke to a group of 40 Level Four Social Policy students at the University of Salford, we attended the Bracondale Champions Wellbeing Fun Day at St George’s Church and then to top it all off, we visited HOME in Manchester to watch a performance of an adaptation of Matt Haig’s book ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ and took part in an after show discussion.
September 2019: We have attended two networking events at Cirtek House in Stockport; the first organised by Change, Grow Live and the second by Pathfinder Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. Both events were focused on working with people in addiction and in recovery from addiction.
September 2019: We went to the DryWave Recovery event at Woodley Leisure Centre, where Chris was a guest speaker!
August /September 2019: We are now doing monthly drop ins at Brinnington Surgery.
August/September 2019: We are now doing monthly drop ins at Alvanley Medical Practice, Woodley Medical Centre and at the StartPoint Community Cafe, Woodley Precinct.
July 2019: We were at Stockport Pride and it was a great success; we met survivors as well as healthcare professionals and representatives of other organisations that were very interested in our work and want to keep in touch with us.
July 2019: Albert the Dog is immortalised on the wrists of MaaD staff! Excellent work by Liam at Bee Tattooed, Stockport
July 2019: Sporting our new MaaD t-shirts and just back from a leaflet drop and publicity event at Stockport Train Station. We visited the station on three mornings in one week. There was a lot of interest from commuters and station staff.
May 2018: Chris and James spent the day dressed in matching gingham promoting MaaD at a Healthwatch Stockport event, in aid of mental health week.