Hello and welcome to my fourth blog. We’re celebrating here at Us in a Bus as we’ve been shortlisted for the ‘Guardian Award for Innovation in mental health services’ at the Advancing Healthcare Awards 2017, with our application “Well-being and social inclusion: the role of Intensive Interaction”. We’re so delighted that the value of Intensive Interaction has been externally appreciated – especially having got through from 30 applicants to a shortlist of 5! The presentation went well, with some really insightful and interesting questions from the panel.
One of the reasons we’re so pleased to be shortlisted is the external contacts that we’ll be able to make from it. We find out if we’ve won at a lunch on March 31st – where Steve and I will be likely to meet some fascinating professionals from NHS England; The Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish Governments; Macmillan, The Guardian and Public Health England who are all sponsors – not to mention all the other applicants. We’re already engaging with people on social media about our shortlisting – different stakeholders, communities and people.
It’s another string to our bow as we set up the Friends of Us in a Bus this year! We plan to develop a community of Friends, who support the work that we do and engage with us on a variety of levels. We plan to charge a modest amount per year (£25 for an individual, £40 for a couple) and as an initial gift, we’ll be giving all our Friends a beautiful enamel badge that we hope that you’ll wear out and about. It’s amazing what a conversation starter they are – in supermarkets, coffee mornings and on the train. It will be like having a team of roving Ambassadors out in the community!
In addition to Friends, we’re also working on developing a network of Corporate Friends, where we plan to develop a network of partners who have an interest in supporting local charities and/ or people with a profound learning disability. We already have great support from a variety of businesses but we hope to meet new stakeholders and organisations through this project.
You may be wondering why we are doing this – and, of course, it is a much needed way to raise funds to address the shortfall between income per session and expenditure. But more importantly, we want to create a deeper, broader relationship with people who support our work. We want to hear about upcoming golf captaincies, corporate charity openings, your son-in-law’s new-found marathon running ambitions or coffee and cake mornings with your friends from the Bowls Club! We want to invite you to take part in our fundraisers – possibly a fire walk in October? We want to share the brilliant work that we do with everyone – and have an army of people demanding that everyone who would benefit from Intensive Interaction gets it.
If you fancy becoming a Friend, have a look at our new Friends Page (under the ‘You Can Help’ menu), drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 01737 764 774. We can’t wait to have you on board!