Mental wellbeing case studies


We’re working with partners across Plymouth to promote the five ways to wellbeing or CLANG (Connect, Learn, be Active, Notice, Give).

There are lots of great examples of CLANG in action in Plymouth but here are just a few:


This is part of the Council’s Nature Plymouth project which deliver with a range of local and national partners. Active Neighbourhoods has been using CLANG in a number of ways, from helping to connect people with their local environment and notice the great outdoors to promoting learning about nature to giving their time through volunteering.

Over the past two years, Active Neighbourhoods have engaged with 2,631 people in Plymouth while residents have volunteered 3,270 hours of their time, and 98 per cent of participants said they felt better after taking part in Active Neighbourhoods initiatives.

Jemma Sharman, Active Neighbourhoods Project Coordinator, said: “It’s been an exciting two years with Active Neighbourhoods and we’re really starting to capture and evidence our impact on the health and wellbeing of people and nature. As we look to the future, we’re confident that Active

Neighbourhoods will continue to flourish and help deliver a naturally healthy Plymouth.”




You can find out more about Active Neighbourhoods and their work around wellbeing in following video:

For more information visit the Active Neighbourhoods page. 

The Livewell team working on the Glenbourne Unit encourage their staff to look after their wellbeing in a number of ways, from taking breaks to stress management sessions for staff. During Mental Health Week they planned to hold a ‘Curry and a Chat’ on each ward and hold tea and cake afternoons. They also encourage both patients and staff to be active by taking regular walks, and to notice by taking photographs of their surroundings.

Jemima Lamble from the Glenbourne Unit said: “As a unit we hope to promote positive habits for both our staff and patients throughout the week in terms on managing stress.

“This will be through nice activities that encourage engagement and networking, mindfulness groups and mini mindfulness sessions at the end of handovers etc.

Encouraging staff to be kind to themselves and take their breaks.

Stress management workshops to help us all learn new skills in regards to stress management.”

They also encourage their staff to connect by networking and going for group walks, and holding exercise sessions in their occupational health department.

For more information visit the Livewell Southwest website.

Deb from the Trust said: “We have been running a funded pilot project offering mindfulness based person centred Counselling at the Devonport Lifehouse.

“Then growing the therapy further through gardening and conservation at HTT Penlee Valley with clients having found a growing sense of trust and deeper recognitions of themselves now and of who they can be, what their potential is as well as growing sense of worth and relationship and healing through the past.

“Clients find clarity amongst what for most is chaos, which supports motivation and being able to move forward into a better future. Space away from the hostel and streets is most beneficial. This is very much through space to 'Notice.”

Ian from Devonport Life House said: “I like going to the allotment because it gets me away from the hostel – it’s more relaxed, I’m free to choose what I do, being out of doors. I enjoy the company. I think I could look after my own garden in future. I’ve never done gardening before but I’ve really enjoyed seeing what happens from week to week. Seeing the corn grow was very enjoyable until it got attacked probably by squirrels or a rabbit but we protected it and the remaining cobs survived.

“We made soup from the ripe corn. It was better – sweeter – than the tinned stuff. I also grew some morning glory plants. It was very late in the season and therefore risky because they are hard to germinate. Eventually, I planted them on my plot next to the corn. They did really well, flowering for a long time – nice purple flowers. Participating in the project has been good for me. It gives me a lot of time to think because it is quiet there. It has had a positive effect on my mental health.”

For more information visit the Horticultural Therapy Trust website website.

Livewell Southwest and Plymouth Argyle are working together to address male mental health through sport. It’s a Goal addresses the problem of depression and other mental health issues in men aged between 16 and 35 – a group traditionally hard to reach by the usual routes.

More than 300 men have benefited from the programme since it was first set up ten years ago. During the sessions, males work as a football team and work through their issues all based around football. After the sessions, everyone participates in a coaching session to help improve mental and physical fitness. Rewards such as tickets and healthy living demonstrations are also in place to help progress participants’ well-being. It’s a Goal also has a small-sided team, which participates in regular tournaments.

Find out more information about the It’s A Goal project on the Livewell Southwest website.

As well as being the strategic lead for Thrive Plymouth, as a council we also take the health and wellbeing of our own staff very seriously.

The Council has been recognised in a number of ways for its work around mental health and wellbeing. Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England chose Plymouth for the South West launch of the Mental Health Concordat in March, while the council was also the 100th local authority nationally to be selected by the Centre For Mental Health to have a mental health member champion. At the launch Duncan Selbie said: “I’m delighted so many local authorities, like Plymouth City Council, are using the prevention concordat, working across a wide range of sectors to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their populations.”



Watch a short video from Duncan Selbie’s visit

The Council also signed the Time To Change pledge to promote mental health and wellbeing to staff including an action plan to train managers and staff on mental health awareness, improving HR policies and guidance, and working to promote open and honest conversations at work with the support of staff Wellbeing Champions.

Some of the Council’s own staff have also found ways themselves to live the CLANG ethos. The Sound Council is a choir made up of colleagues here who get together once a week at lunchtimes to sing together.

Simon Elvin who leads the choir said: “Members of the choir report a renewed energy and a lift to their spirits when they have spent an hour singing together.

“Socially the group has become a cross-departmental support group and the social side extends beyond practices and performances. The performance aspect of the choir is great for building confidence and self-esteem.”

Pictured: Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE with our local Public Health team

Established in Plymouth in 2007, Street Factory encourages young people to express themselves using elements of Hip Hop such as dance, DJing and theatre, as well as other activities such as boxing, to improve their confidence, social skills and general wellbeing.

Toby Gorniak, the founder of Street Factory, said: “We empower our staff to become strong role models, understanding the importance of positivity, love and support.

“We encourage people to grow into strong individuals…to use the 10 elements of Hip Hop as a way to free their minds and channel the internal fight into something positive. Sharing knowledge, passion and interests with others is something that inspires us, to grow as a company and as individuals. It feeds a desire to ensure that every young person, no matter their background, has a chance to be the best they can be; doing something they love.

“We have found young people just want to feel engaged and valued, being able to make a difference and in some cases make tomorrow better than today.”


Watch Street Factory’s video

For more information visit the Street Factory website. 

Pictured: Toby Gorniak, founder of Street Factory with Carole Burgoyne, Plymouth City Council’s Strategic Director for People.

 Now in its ninth year, Our Space is a creative community programme that works with adults with multiple and complex needs who have experienced challenges involving homelessness, mental health issues, reoffending, addiction, or experience isolation for other reasons.

Our Space uses drama to improve self-esteem and wellbeing, develop interpersonal skills through team work, build a stronger sense of resilience and ability to tackle life stage transitions and reduce isolation and improve integration for adults with multiple and complex needs.


For more information on Our Space, call 01752 230378 or visit the Theatre Royal website.