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‘Knowing how much a charity can genuinely affect a person’s life and being able to give something back to them is part of what inspired me to start this society.’ These considerate words of Anna Gillies, President of Lancaster’s newly established MIND society, go a long way in demonstrating how much students can make a difference by participating in charity activities.
It is important to understand the sort of work that MIND does; it is charity that prides itself on supporting each individual dealing with a mental health problem until they attain the support and respect they deserve. Gillies discussed from her own experiences after locally volunteering for the charity that ‘[MIND] offers service users an outlet where they can come and have a chat in a free space. They can meet people and establish relationships that aren’t clinical, like they are at the doctor.’ A support service like this can be more valuable than any counselling service; knowing that there is a friendly face and a cup of tea waiting for you twice a week may be enough to lift a mood.
‘What the society aims to do,’ suggests Gillies, ‘is to do as much fundraising for MIND’s new and developing campaigns as we can.’ The group, currently working with LUSU Gives, hopes to become an independent society and raise as much money and, more importantly, awareness for Lancashire Mind, a local sector of the overall charity, as they can. Beginning their journey at Charities Fair and recruiting a passionate exec and campaign team, the society have been rigorously planning some ideas for campaign and fundraising events. The goal for this term, put simply, was ‘to make some money’ – a goal, which with the events coming up, will be very easily achieved! A candy cane delivery service at this year’s Pendle and Lonsdale Live will be their first attempt at raising some cash for the valuable services provided by Lancashire Mind. In keeping with the local campaign, which deals with the concept of wellbeing, the society are also looking to co-ordinate a wellbeing day towards the end of Lent term. LUDANS are working to endorse the charity and the two societies are hoping to collaborate on some fundraising events, including a charity bag pack at Booths.
What sets the society apart from other fundraising charities is something very unique to the aims and ethos of MIND itself. Gillies emphasised that she wanted her exec and the society’s members to know where the money really goes and how much of a personal difference it can make to people, especially as she has been involved so closely working with the charity. MIND definitely stands out as a charity because ‘it can really help people and the society that we have here is a nice way to form a group that is passionate about changing attitudes to stigma and aiding people’s perception of what Mind actually is.’
A society like this allows people to understand the bigger picture of MIND by raising awareness in a fun, passionate and worthwhile way, and the results of such incredible campaigning can help people, young and old, to find their voices in talking about mental health and wellbeing. If you would like to get involved with the society, or keep up with their upcoming events check out their Facebook page: Lancaster University MIND Fundraising Group.