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Hi everyone here's a exciting update...

Since we launched in March things have shall we say been a little busy! The whole world was turned on its head with the Corona Virus and for us this meant taking a very different approach to supporting those in need within the biker community. This update shares what's been happening. This newsletter is for everyone who has registered as a volunteer to support the work we are doing. We actively encourage and support any ideas or suggestions you might have.

A more detailed update


As you know the MHM launched in March and this was quickly followed by the corona virus and lockdown. The six events we were due to attend were subsequently cancelled. As bikers ourselves we knew straight away the effect lockdown would have on peoples mental health if they couldn't get out for a ride, so our priority was getting word out to the community we were here ready to support them. Priority was placed on reaching bikers through social media and the MHM Facebook page. At the start of March we had no followers but in 5 weeks we have built this up to over 1200. The page reach has been over 45k people and there has been over 3400 post engagements

We have recently setup the MHM members only Facebook group this encourages more interactive discussions and peer support for members, in the first 2 weeks this has grown to over 150 members.

The website has has the following changes made:

Since the start of March the team have supported 20 members who have reached out for help, 9 of these were people in crisis and at risk of causing them self harm, this support continues with new people contacting us daily. We have supported many more people through the online groups. The team are spending hours each day interacting with members through chat, social media posts and one to one support.

We have run 5 virtual Rideouts (normally one a week) for bikers to come together on Zoom to meet others bikers. The purpose of these is to reduce social isolation and the loneliness that some members might be facing. All of these have been well attended with some great stories and support being offered by the team to bikers struggling with lockdown. Each Rideout has had video content shared of actual bike trips and we would like to thank author Martin Smith for sharing some awesome footage of his recent trip through the alps.

Finally we did an 20 minute Zoom interview for Mike Thatcher owner of Seaways Cafe one of the great biker cafes in North Yorkshire - watch that interview here - https://youtu.be/xN3Sf5Dopq0

Training for volunteers

We have been very fortunate in recruiting over 30+ volunteers many with valuable skills in the mental health field, the challenge now is to utilise these skills. Over the next few months we will be developing an online induction course for volunteers with a mental health qualification which prepares them for working with the Mental Health Motorbike team. As well as a good understanding of mental health issues we believe it’s important to understand the biker psyche, have a clear understanding of what mental health issues people might be facing and be clear about the limits of the support we can offer. 

All volunteers in whatever capacity you chose to work with us will be excepted to undertake the online induction training course. 

The online course will cover different areas preparing our volunteers for working within our organisation. It will cover:

  • Reporting processes
  • Confidentiality
  • Professionalism
  • Boundaries 
  • Support for volunteers
  • Not putting yourself in a vulnerable position

 

We also hope to offer the opportunity for people to do a certified Mental Health First Aid course in the near future . If you would like to do a mental health first aid course let us know and we will add you to a list.

Also if you know anymore suitable volunteers get them to register at:  
www.mentalhealthmotorbike.org.uk/volunteer

The MHM Foundation

This is the project we are most excited about launching over the next few months. It will be at the core of what the Mental Health Motorbike is about. We currently have a prototype in place and will test out the model with two existing MHM members. They will help us refine the application process and give us feedback along the way. 

The foundation exists to help build and grow individual projects that enables the positive wellbeing of MHM members. Members apply to the foundation for assistance in taking on a project or activity which will help their wellbeing. A number of these will be approved each year and we find the resources to make them happen through supporters pledging their help. We will share some examples shortly. But for now information visit: 

http://www.mentalhealthmotorbike.org.uk/foundation

Branding & Publicity

We have finally started to narrow down the new branding for the motorbike. This is gone through various processes with help from Sian and Martin Smith from the network. We have kept it very simple and will be going for a black and white colour scheme. This will keep printing costs down which also is in keeping with the R1200 GSA. It is not easy bike to brand as it is all engine and bars at the front. We believe we have something that will look really good. Designs and photos will be shared in the next bulletin. 

At a later stage we will offer the option for other volunteers bikes to be branded if this is something you want. It might be a simple promotion of our website through to more comprehensive branding. Obviously we will try and cover all the costs to make this happen. The purpose of this is to get our name out in the biker community. More information on this will be shared in the coming months.

Fundraising


One of our greatest challenges is how we sustain ourselves financially longer term. Running an organisation like this takes a huge amount of time and incurs high running costs. At the moment these costs have been covered personally by Paul and Jay. This is becoming more challenging due to both of their businesses being affected by the coronavirus. So it becomes a priority find other sources of funding. 

We have secured the services of a experienced grant writer, so we now need to identify possible sources of funding. To do that we have to prioritise getting the legal status of our organisation finalised. We are going through the final stages of setting up a not-for-profit company. Anyone that can offer support with this will be greatly appreciated. 

As soon as we have finalised the rebrand we will explore a range of merchandise which can be sold within the network and at events. We are aiming to add a shopping cart to the website for online orders. We will keep this simple to start with, selling T-shirts, badges, stickers and caps/hats etc. If successful we will grow the range of merchandise through research at events. Again any support through the network on how to develop this would be greatly appreciated.

Post lockdown we will explore a 'go fund me' campaign as well as active fundraising programme at events we attend.

Future Ride Outs

We are really keen to meet all of you guys who have registered as volunteers. We thought the best way of doing this after lockdown is a central event that brings us all together. I have been speaking to the official Captain Tom ride out team. They seem very interested in the Mental Health Motorbike being part of that day. We will meet with the organisers and explore the options. We hope to have a date where we can invite you all to come and join us with branded T-shirts and promote the work that we’re doing at this event. We can then meet nearby for a cuppa together just to explore the future and meet each other face-to-face. 

Longer term we have access to some high quality campsites and we are hoping maybe to offer a chance to have a ride out to one of these. We can then have some planning time together and then stay overnight and have some drinks. Possibilities here will be explored after lockdown ends. It would be interested to know your thoughts on whether this would be something you would like?

And Finally

We want to hear your thoughts about events and ride outs. We have some amazing places offering us opportunities at their cafés. One in North Yorkshire and another in Cornwall. Should we organise a regular Mental Health Motorbike ride out? and if so how often? Also if you know of any events that we should be attending send us a message.

We want to thank you for registering as a volunteer, we know it’s been challenging circumstances for us all. We believe we are offering some incredible support to many bikers sand we have had interest from large companies about helping us (more on this soon). The more work we take on the more reliant we will be on our volunteers and we want this to be worthwhile to you so share your ideas of what you think will make a difference. Our team is really looking forward to meeting you to stay in touch stay engaged and stay safe

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