Connect Point is a pilot project of Job Doctors Surgery CIC. Job Doctors Surgery was approved as a non profit community interest company in November 2019 to combat redundancy and mental health by teaching online employment training skills.
COVID-19 has increased the need for online employment training, however funding is so competitive/time consuming that Mark Allan (Founder) decided to create this project as a way of working towards being self funded.
Connect Point was inspired following the sudden death of his best friend who had been a happy-go-lucky young lady until a dark place ended with her being found dead on a sofa in March 2021.
Connect Point has 3 clear aims:
1. To 'Make Mental Health Visible' by prominently displaying Connect Point posters. Whatever your opinion of COVID-19 it has shown there is a percentage of society who do not have the ability to understand/acknowledge things you cannot see. Now is the time to make mental health visible delivering this is a way that is ‘inclusive’ and impossible to ignore.
2. Offer a direct link to the website via QR code signposting to professionally endorsed mental health organisations so that people suffering 'invisible' despair can access information and/or the support they need offering a platform for all the small mental health organisations, incorporating social media groups enabling different methods of communication so there is a comfortable method for everyone. By incorporating different methods the website offers mental health support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Maidstone Borough Council kindly helped to kickstart the idea authorising Mark to create his first ‘connect bench’ aiming to create safe outside space for people to engage in November 2020. The project has been very well received and has attracted lots of positive publicity in local newspapers even making ITV News. Mark went on to create a further 2 benches in April 2021.The project will be offered to businesses who have a responsibility for staff mental health on a monthly subscription (one year contract) to generate revenue to go into all the good work we do.
3. Help boost boost the local economy by getting local people back into retail stores by offering small/medium businesses an affordable advertising platform by offering ‘in-store’ discounts/offers to encourage customers back through their doors helping them to survive what has been an incredible difficult time in a world where online shopping has increased due to COVID restrictions.
The pilot phase will run for 1 year after which I will evaluate usage and impact with key stakeholders and users. Once the website has been built I plan to work with local housing associations, councils and local businesses offering notebooks, wristbands and laminated connect point posters to support their workforce when life gets too much. The website will achieve a broader reach and financially support longer-term expansion plans.