As we head towards the end of 2017, it’s a time when many will reflect on the year gone by and look to the year ahead. It’s the busiest season of the year with so much going on every single day – we know that this time of year can be particularly daunting for people living with mental illness, in its many forms. Fortunately, there is help out there for anyone who needs support.
On Day 38 of #100DaysNoTV we left some festive-themed painted pebbles around our little city of Ely. These are no ordinary pebbles; we hope they will help to spread the word about a wonderful community project, Talking FreELY.
In 2013, Ely was voted as England’s kindest city; in my opinion, it more than deserves to retain that title. Random acts of kindness are regularly celebrated on social media. Talking FreELY is one example of our city’s community spirit.
The project was founded in April 2017 by Anthony Sigrist, and its aim is to promote mental wellness. Their volunteer-led events are designed to encourage people to talk openly about mental health and to empower those who live with the effects of mental illness to seek help.
My friend, Lauren, volunteers at Talking FreELY and she asked if anyone was willing to decorate some pebbles, adding the project’s website and logo on the reverse – the aim is to increase knowledge of the project locally. As an advocate for mental health awareness, and seeing it as an opportunity for a fun family activity, we were in!
The pebble, or rock, painting craze is a global phenomenon – wherever you live you may have seen people posting photos on social media of pebbles they’ve found. Some, we assume, are kept; others are left for others to find. It’s a very sweet idea.
Now, I am not gifted in the arts. You’ll see why my sixth-form head teacher advised me not to take A-level art & design, as it was a step above my artistic talents. 😉
We used a mixture of poster and acrylic paints – whatever was in the cupboard, to be honest – and some good old Sharpies for the text and logo. The writing is a bit wibbly wobbly, but hopefully legible. We had some varnish left over from my upcycled jewellery holder so I gave them a layer of this in the hope that it would provide some weatherproofing! 🙂
Perhaps unsurprisingly, pebble painting is a very calming and relaxing way to spend a few hours. Rob and I ended up with about a dozen and selected the most festive for the lovely people of Ely. The boys became attached to theirs, so we decided to keep hold of those. 😉 The others were placed in popular locations around Ely on Christmas Eve. I wonder who will find them…
Whatever happens to the pebbles, I hope that they raise a smile. If you suspect someone is having a tough time, be that person who asks them if they’re OK, or give them a hug – or both.
Bye for now!