The Breckland Mental Health Community Partnership Mindful Town project has launched a series of free mental health champion training courses for local volunteers.

Funded by Breckland Council Inspiring Communities programme, the Mindful Towns scheme offers free mental health education and training options for up to 100 volunteers from community organisations and small businesses across the district. The local training programmes will be delivered by Norfolk and Waveney Mind, YANA, the rural mental health charity Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney. Over the past 6 months over 150 new mental health community champions have been trained by the scheme. 

The Mindful Towns new training programmes focusses on helping volunteers increase their mental health awareness and teaching participants how to hold safe conversations with someone in need and signpost onto appropriate support. The overall intention is to provide a community led ‘grass roots’ layer of early mental health intervention across the district.

Twelve new free training dates for Summer 2022 and Spring 2023 are now available to book online at The free training programme also includes two new courses exploring ‘suicide prevention’ and ‘managing mental health in the workplace.’

Alison Webb, Executive Member for Health & Communities commented: “Mental health truly matters and is no longer the taboo subject it once was in our society. I believe it is our unique relationships with one another in the community and workplace that can make all the difference in supporting and signposting our friends, colleagues, or neighbours to the get right support when it is needed most.  Our mental health champions are already making a massive difference, and I look forward to more champions joining their ranks, helping even more people every day within our community.”

Melina Raker from YANA, the rural mental health support charity, commented: “ We applaud the Breckland Council’s unique initiative, knowing that there is great strength in collaboration between charities and local organisations.  Together, we will undoubtedly be able to make a real difference to the well-being of our communities. YANA is pleased to be working with Breckland in providing fully funded MH First Aid  training for those in rural businesses.”

Sonja Chilvers, Chief Operating Officer from Norfolk and Waveney Mind commented: “We are delighted to be working with Breckland Council and the other members of the Breckland Mental Health Community Partnership to bring mental health awareness and training to the communities of Breckland, and are especially delighted to hear that 150 new mental health community champions have been trained by the scheme in the last 6 months.”

“Through our education and awareness training we hope to empower local businesses and community volunteers to better understand mental health, how it can affect overall wellbeing, the potential triggers and signs of mental health issues, and how best to signpost residents to the range of support available.

“We work to ensure that no one in Norfolk and Waveney has to face a mental health problem alone and partnerships like this enable us to reach far more people, helping to build healthier, more resilient communities.”

Mindful Towns Dates Summer 22 – Spring 2023

2022 Dates

August 5th – Suicide Awareness (1:00pm – 4:30pm) – Dereham venue tbc

September 5th – Mental Health Awareness (9:30AM – 1:00pm) – Swaffham venue tbc

September 29th / 30th – Mental Health First Aid 2 Day (9:00AM – 5:00PM) Thetford venue tbc

October 12th – Managing Mental Health in the Workplace (9:30AM – 1:00pm) Dereham venue tbc

November 4th – Suicide Awareness (1:00pm – 4:30pm) Attleborough venue tbc

December 5th – Mental Health Awareness (9:30AM – 1:00pm) Watton venue tbc

2023 Dates

January 11th – Managing Mental Health in the Workplace (9:30AM – 1:00pm) Swaffham venue tbc

January 24th / 25th – Mental Health First Aid 2 Day (9:00AM – 5:00PM) Dereham venue tbc

February 10th – Suicide Awareness (1:00pm – 4:30pm) Thetford venue tbc

March 8th – Mental Health Awareness (9:30AM – 1:00pm) – Attleborough venue tbc

April (TBC) – Managing Mental Health in the Workplace (9:30AM – 1:00pm) Watton venue tbc

Free courses include;

Managing Mental Health in the workplace

Designed with Managers, Line Managers and Supervisors in mind, this workshop explores the fundamentals of creating a workplace culture that supports mental health, creativity, productivity, and wellbeing within your team. This course enables managers/supervisors to take a more pro-active approach to supporting their staff wellbeing in a workplace setting. With a constantly changing workplace landscape, it also includes information and best practice advice on how to support your remote workforce. 

Suicide Awareness (QPR)

The course provides the knowledge and skills required by any staff and support agencies that are likely to have direct and/or substantial contact with people who may be at risk of mental ill health, self-harm, or suicide, meaning that they have an important contribution to make in mental health improvement and self-harm and suicide prevention. 

QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Awareness and Intervention, is a 3.5-hour workshop designed to teach the warning signs of suicide crisis and how to respond. 

Mental Health First Aid (Adult) Two Days (Online or Face to Face)

This two day nationally recognised qualification from Mental Health First Aid England, qualifies you as a Mental Health First Aider. This is an ideal course for anyone, but particularly those who want to train staff or volunteers to become recognised Mental Health First Aiders within their organisation.

Mental Health Awareness Training

This intermediary course gives a more in-depth insight into Mental Health Awareness, and in addition to covering how to support and signpost someone in need, you will also learn how to spot the signs of someone who may be struggling, and how to approach them sensitively. The session will also discuss what it means to be a Community Mental Health Champion and how Norfolk and Waveney Mind can support you in that role.