The Blurt Foundation, which I always joke was my first baby, started off, in 2011, from my bed-office. I was working at the time and all my spare time was spent crafting the website, popping things on social media, replying to social media (it's always been, and continues to be a Blurt-thing that we acknowledge every comment because so many organisations don't and I hate to think that someone has been brave enough to contribute to the conversation and to go unheard or unseen), replying to emails, delivering social media courses to have funds to pay for the website, insurance, and so on. Blurt started because I wholly felt that more resources were needed from the perspective of someone with lived experience of what they were writing about. Since then, it's become so much more.
Fast-forward to now and the biggest question to ask - does our work make a difference? And the answer is, heck yes. Here's a 98-page-pdf of all of the feedback our incredible team has captured in the past two years - a team of people who all have lived experience of mental ill health. In 2018, 1,130,483 unique users visited our website. Our self-care starter kit has been downloaded over 15,000 times. We know that mental health teams, counsellors and therapists use the resources we create and work through them with their patients - they've been downloaded 1,781 times in the past month alone.
To continue offering these resources we need your support, and we'd really appreciate any donation you can make. If you aren't able to make a financial contribution, please consider fundraising for us as part of this campaign, and share this campaign loudly and proudly and explain all of the reasons why it, why we, matter to you.'
We're working with schools who have no funds available due to funding cuts, inpatient services who have very limited funds due to funding cuts, it's a really tricky landscape with a system that's broken and we just so want to help in any way we can. The trouble being, we've been pouring from an almost-empty cup and we need to batten down the hatches, regroup and top ourselves back up. We're really down, but we're not quite out, not yet.
We're always ultra-aware that there are a gazillion causes fighting for your attention and we didn't want to be one of them - we wanted to help, help, help and help some more and leave you feeling better than you'd found us. When we launched BuddyBox, we thought we'd found our magic-wondrous-yay-way to be sustainable. But over these past few spring/summer months; we've experienced back-to-back months of dropping BuddyBox sales (we do have plans to address this in place).
And, with our back against the wall, we're at the stage where we're looking at there no longer being a Blurt.
Our last shot at survival really, is this crowdfunding campaign we've set-up. With the funds raised, it'll help us to mop up the damage caused by our dismal spring/summer sales and it'll give us space to regroup and make decisions about funding, whether we should change to charity status, how we spring/summer-proof ourselves in 2020, to implement changes, to continue being able to work with schools, GPs, community groups and inpatient services, and to explore other ways of fundraising.
In being a Social Enterprise, we've always had the 'social' aspect covered, we've got a Trello board rammed to the rafters of projects we'd like to do and community groups we'd like to help and partner with. There are things like a podcast we'd love to bring to the table, kindness cafes to help address loneliness and isolation, and oh-so-much more. In many ways, we're just getting started.
The 'enterprise' aspect, that's the really tough bit for us, because we've been here before, in 2017 when we almost went into administration. We learned an awful lot from that, we added a finance person to our team, created processes and systems, and worked our socks off (and then some) to come back from that, which held us in good stead until the dramatic sales decrease of spring/summer this year. We've got our sleeves rolled up ready to work hard some more and buckets of passion, determination and dedication, but we do need your help.
If you'd miss us if we were gone, have ever found anything of value in any of the work we've done, feel there's space and a need for us, could you please help whether that's a financial contribution to this campaign, to register as a fundraiser and fundraise for this campaign, or to share this campaign loudly and proudly and explain all of the reasons why it, why we, matter to you.
And if there's anything at all that you can think of to help us, please, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Similarly, if you have any questions - we'll be answering those once a week and publishing a link here to the answers (if we've got the answers).
With love from Jayne, and all of us at Blurt <3