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In 2000, Trust Links was founded to respond to the social and emotional needs of people with mental health issues in the Southend community. At the same time, the former allotment land on the corner of Fairfax Drive and Prittlewell Chase was increasingly overgrown and neglected. There was an emerging evidence base that community gardening was a way of bringing people together to improve mental health and wellbeing, so their first project, the Growing Together project, was conceived!
Trust Links work across Essex to support people experiencing mental health difficulties, families and other community members. Their projects support over 4,000 people per year in Southend, Rochford, and Castle Point, and have recently launched in Basildon. At the very core of their work, the Trust Links team are committed to building stronger communities, and supporting the environment through sustainable living.
“At Trust Links, community matters. Our mission is transforming the mental health and wellbeing in local communities through supportive and empowering environments for vulnerable adults.
Trust Links follows four core values:
It’s a big mission; but by knowing where we are now and where we want to be, we believe that we can bring positive change and transformation, creating a supportive community where help is readily available."
— Beckie Grout - Partnerships Manager
Trust Links’ offer a wide range of services to their mumbers across their 4 sites.
These projects have been received by the community with open arms, the videos below show the impact of the Trust Links Music Group.
After years of success of the Trust Links Music Group at their Westcliff location, another group, hosted by REACH, has since been started at their Rochford location.
“If you get a large group of people singing together, it takes people out of themselves, it puts a smile on their face, and it feels good to be a part of something like that”.
— Trust Links Music Group volunteer
“[the music group] has bought me so much. It lifts my spirits. I love singing anyway, and I love the way you can pick a song of your own.”
“It doesn’t matter what you sing or how you sing it…everybody just accepts you for what you are. That’s why for me it’s been a real help”
— Trust Links Music Group members
For lots of people, music plays a large role with regard to their wellbeing, and the Trust Links Music Group is a great addition to projects they provide for our members. Through the music group, members can join a safe space and enjoy music and singing with others. Over time this can help Trust Link’s members to build confidence, and for some members, learn or develop a new skill, which can help their wellbeing outside of Trust Links and help them with self-expression. Through music at Trust Links, their members can also develop valuable relationships with their peers, helping to tackle feelings of loneliness.
The Trust Links band started around eight years ago and comprises of members of the Trust Links Music Group and volunteers, and over the years the group has grown tremendously in numbers. The core members, who have been involved with the music group for years now, are the ones who perform in the Trust Links band.
Two members of the group were so passionate about music and sharing it with others, that they developed into more of a ‘facilitator’ role, and lead the Trust Links Music Group AND the Trust Links band. Between them they offer skills in playing guitar, singing, violin, and piano! Any members of the music group would be welcome to join the Trust Links band, but more often than not, the band is made up of the same members (generally 5 or 6 people) who play at annual events throughout the year. They’re a a real crowd-pleaser and play a range of covers for everyone to enjoy! Their upbeat energy really helps to bring a special kind of energy to their events.