Heritage Link Worker
We were thrilled to have Bonfire Films capture our Heritage Linkworker Project in a film made for Historic England. A big thank you to Heather Mather, a member of our Great Yarmouth heritage group, for sharing her experience of taking part. At this particular meeting we were joined by Richard Johnson, Historian for ‘Change Minds’, a project which focuses on the 19th Century Case Books from Norfolk County Asylum/St Andrews Hospital.
Change Minds is a transformative archival adventure for people from North Norfolk and Norwich who live with mental health conditions and are on low incomes, carers, volunteers and staff. Researching two digitised 19th Century Norfolk County Asylum Case Books at Norfolk Record Office and Norwich Millennium Library, Change Minds engages local people and online visitors in the stories it reveals during a fascinating investigation into local heritage, mental health and identity.
About the Project:
Participants were predominantly drawn to the project by their interest in the historical and artistic components. They had strongly enjoyed the historical and creative aspects of the project. There was a strong trend for participants to report having enjoyed making friends, spending time with others, and bonding as a group. Additionally, participants reported having built confidence across a range of domains: historical, creative, interpersonal, and group-based.
Additionally, participants felt they had benefited significantly from spending time in the physical domain of the Norfolk Record Office which was experienced as an inspiring professional environment.
From these few points we can see that the Trust had achieved its Theory of Change of Culture Therapy, as they were able to help get people interacting with others when before they would be hesitant due to fears of being hurt. The project also got people interacting with local history and allowed them to use their mind and research skills to learn more about what happened around them in the past. This in turn would help them develop new skills, learn about heritage and change their attitudes and behaviour giving them a better state of mind and improving their mental health.
Safe Practice, Impact, Outcomes and Evaluation
All partners and policies meet professionally required standards and due diligence is applied to the formation of partnerships. The project has ethical approval from the University of Dundee with an evaluation methodology that measures participants wellbeing before, immediately at the end of the project and a year later.
Work with Us
Change Minds is like a family in which all those who are part of the project, archivists, staff, and volunteers have the opportunity to learn from each other and take part in creative sessions led by professional facilitators. If you are interested in running your own Change Minds Project, get in touch with the Change Minds Hub.
“I’d recommend [Change Minds] to people who are interested in history archives and that kind of research, as well as people who are interested in understanding mental wellness itself and historical context on that. It has been interesting looking at these themes being come out from people from very different backgrounds.” (Change Minds Participant).
Fancy supporting projects like these?
All support isn’t expected but hugely appreciated. If you’d like to contribute financially to the work we do, you can do so by getting in touch with us or donating using Queue Gives. Click the box to be walked through the secure system to do that.