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Housing association gets skiffling to break down mental health discrimination

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Housing association gets skiffling to break down mental health discrimination


Published by Anonymous for Circle in Care and Support and also in Education, Housing

Kent employers can now tackle the stigma around mental health at work thanks to a style of music credited with starting the career of The Beatles.

Staff from Tonbridge and Malling housing provider Circle Housing Russet will take part in the first in a series of innovative events using skiffle music to change attitudes around mental health in Kent .

John Lennon, Roger Daltry and Mick Jagger all began their careers performing skiffle music in the 1950s, often on improvised instruments like a washboard or tea chest bass. Now organisers Sevenaoaks Area Mind are running eight inclusive and interactive skiffle gigs for Kent companies which will they hope will provide the perfect setting for new conversations about managing mental health.

Skiffle for Change brings together a skiffle band, led by people with mental health conditions, and experts to run mental health and skiffle music master classes.

It forms part of Time to Change, England’s largest mental health anti-stigma programme run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. Up to 100 staff members from Circle Housing will take part on Friday (20th May) after they invited the band to launch the project at Circle Housing Russet’s headquarters in Kings Hill.

Jacqui Airey, Head of Diversity at Circle Housing, said: “This is a really fun and interesting way of tackling an age old problem. Our staff found out about the project and invited them here so we’re thrilled that Skiffle for Change will now be launched at Circle Housing.

“We fully support Skiffle for Change’s aim to give workers in Kent the right support and tackle the discrimination that still surrounds mental health.  We now hope other companies in Kent will follow our lead and get skiffling for change.”

The launch of Skiffle for Change follows a Time to Change survey of more than 5,000 people which found that 44% had been stopped from looking or returning to work due to the stigma and discrimination around mental health conditions.”

Lucy Adams, Skiffle for Change Coordinator, said: “1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.  It can affect all of us so the more we all know and understand about our own mental health, the better equipped we are to understand when things go wrong and to be able to support others. “

People in Kent can get involved in the project by attending or hosting an event at their workplace. Contact Lucy Adams, Skiffle for Change Coordinator on 01732 744950 or email

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