Basildon At Christmas
The Basildon At Christmas event on 16th November had an ice rink, Santa’s grotto and fairground rides, so the doors of the Advice Store where the local branch of Signpost are based were propped open to take advantage of the crowds (and it was very chilly in the office as a result!).
To entice people into the Store there was free face painting and though the people getting made-up were a little on the young side to be considering employment, some of the parents and grandparents who accompanied them were intrigued to hear about the HeadsUp project. Originally the doors were only intended to be open from 3-6pm, but being in a prime location it was decided to turn it into an all-day event and the long queues of people throughout validated this.
The best things about being open on a weekend was reaching people who worked, but who took leaflets for others they knew who weren’t in employment and may not get out much due to their mental health, while being at the centre of the Christmas market meant we reached people from outside the area who had travelled some distance to attend, thus spreading word of HeadsUp far and wide.
For instance, a couple who had come all the way from Canvey Island to attend the event wanted to talk about their son who lives in Thurrock and struggles with mental health issues meaning he is out of work. We were able to explain the benefits of the project and give them the contact details for Employ-Ability which delivers HeadsUp in their son’s locality.