Giving something back
As lockdown started easing, I got to thinking about the overwhelming support I have received both locally and further afield. Considering Knit Happens is such a new business; we opened in Sept 2020 and so far have managed to be properly open for only 3 of the 7 months since! The response from everyone has been phenomenal.
However, lockdown has for many people been extremely difficult for a wide variety of reasons. Be it job losses, financial strain, isolation, worry and so much more. Some people who have never been touched by mental health in any way, are now finding themselves in situations they just don’t know how to deal with.
Just before Christmas 2020, I lost a friend I had known since school to suicide. Even though we had a large group of friends, he always had periods of isolation and during lockdown I guess it just became too much for him. There have also been periods in my own life where I have struggled. I’d find myself slowly shutting off, not wanting to see or socialise with anyone and becoming very anxious about leaving the house. If it wasn’t for my close friends, family and crafting I don’t know what would have become of me.
Being made to feel part of the Bodmin community so soon after opening was a real blessing. The kindness and friendliness shown by everyone has helped me on a personal level. Enabling me to become less anxious and more like my true self. So I decided I needed to do something for Bodmin and the wider Cornish community to say thank you. I wanted to find a local charity I could help that had values close my heart.
I’ve had some amazing charities approach me this week. Each and everyone of them are special and do fantastic work in their fields. I genuinely wish I could help all of them, however there was one that stood out for me for a number of reasons. When we chatted, I knew this was where my support needed to be. That charity is Earth23.
Who are Earth23?
Founded by Jack Brown & David Simpson, Earth23 is a local support group for Cornwall based in Bodmin. It is their intention to set up a regular support group with smaller groups aimed at specific issues around mental health as well as depression and anxiety. The aim is to help people before the need for medical intervention, reducing the strain on the NHS but also giving people the means to help themselves and others. These are all issues very close to my heart for a number of reasons.
Jack’s inspiration stems from his life growing up. Where he struggled with drugs and violence in his personal life. Things came to a head for him when he was hit by a car and realised he needed to make some changes. The costs involved financially were astronomical but he pushed through and got himself on a better track. Jack couldn’t understand why this help wasn’t freely available and set out to change this. Jack is living proof people can change and his ultimate aim with Earth23 is “to never leave someone wanting”.
This is what Jack had to say when we met:
Q. What was your motivation behind starting Earth23?
A. My motivation has always been, to put a service in place that stops people falling through the gaps like I did. I had events in my life that were not of my choosing and if I had been supported I would not of made the choices I did. Everyone deserves better than what’s currently available.
Q. Why the name Earth23?
A. It came to me in a dream, I wish I was kidding! 23 is my number, it’s origin is surrounding rebirth. Also the planet, all we do effects it and the healthier we are as a race will reflect on the state of the planet. We plan on doing lots of environmental stuff like beach cleans and recycling.
Q. How long has Earth23 been going?
A. It used to be called better lives and it’s all been progressing for about 4 years.
Q. What are your short & long term aims for Earth23?
A. Short terms goals are to build a structure for a local community hub and get it firing on all cylinders. Primarily I want to help all the people that are not being helped. Long term is to roll it out in all communities. I want the government to make it a service we pay for with our taxes, it’s a need just like the doctors or a police station.
Q. What brought you to Bodmin and why is the town so special to you?
A. Me and my boys mum wanted to move away from Somerset. I needed a fresh start away from previous pitfalls and people. We wanted to have a baby too and thought Cornwall would be a great place to start a family. Bodmin stood out when we were looking at places because it felt untouched and we liked the community feel. Also it was central to everywhere in north Cornwall.
Where Knit Happens Fits in
My initial plan was to donate 10% of Knit Happens April profits to Earth23. This is definitely still happening. But after meeting with Jack and really getting to know his plan, understand his motivations and aims for the future, I realised I could do more to help.
I created my new workshop space upstairs to hold classes, workshops, knit & natters and so much more. It is a space for people to meet, socialise, swap ideas and generally be a community hub. What better place for Earth23 to hold groups for people, who are maybe needing support, a friendly ear, a non judgemental, comfortable place to have a cuppa, a natter and learn some craft…
That is exactly what we are going to do. In conjunction with Earth23, Knit Happens will be offering our workshop space for anyone who wants to come along. In addition to our ongoing knit & natter sessions, workshops and classes. There will be dedicated sessions, drop in days and all sorts of ongoing schemes dedicated to supporting the community, addressing stigmas attached to mental health and helping people overcome their challenges in a creative and friendly environment.
Jack & David have created a fantastic charity with such a wonderful outlook and Knit Happens is Proud to support Earth23 throughout their journey. Like our Facebook page to keep track of all the latest news as it happens!