We’re proud to have one of the best crowdfunding coaching teams in the business and we are really excited to see that Bertie Herrtage, Senior Coach here at Crowdfunder, is planning his own project for the very first time. He’s on a journey around the UK to explore mental health and to meet with 10 inspiring projects who through crowdfunding, have sought to address this growing problem in our society.
My name is Bertie Herrtage, I’m a coach here at Crowdfunder UK and I’m on an adventure. Over the last 6 years I’ve been dealing with depression, an affliction that plagues many of us and something that can often feel unbeatable.
I find depression to be an awkward beast to manage, it can swallow you up whole if you’re not careful and if you have a predisposition to it, then it can take a lot of management.
This is my approach anyway, order in my life in terms of exercise, diet and a routine helps me to hold it in check. In many respects it may seem obvious, a healthy body is a healthy mind and a life with many distractions, thanks to the coastline of Cornwall, can draw your attention away from yourself and into other things.
However, what remains to be scary is that despite a cocktail of vegetables, running, hiking, swimming and care, darkness can still creep into your mind, undermine the foundations of your defences and crawl back into its nest of tangling thoughts.
This year in June my defences were beginning to waver and not for the first time. Cracks were starting to reappear in my resolve and I was losing my grip on both work and life at home. I had two options, the first was to limp on towards the unpleasant possible eventuality of a breakdown or to admit temporary defeat and raise a white flag.
The latter came in the form of an open conversation with my manager and together we cobbled together a plan that allowed me to take 2 weeks of holiday and 2 weeks of unpaid leave to recover.
4 weeks alone
I left to travel through France along the coast from Bordeaux down to San Sebastian in Spain. All of my positive energy I get from the outdoors and this was enough to allow a small shift in perspective that actually came in the form of a massive revelation. I’ve never beaten depression and never thought that it was possible for me but I can honestly say that since that trip I have never felt more refreshed or certain of possible recovery.
Time spent hiking and camping in the Pyrenees was what I sorely needed, to spend time on my own and appreciate the world around me and my good fortune in having a place within it.
From meeting lots of interesting people along the way and making good friends, I started to understand that the solution lies in channeling your energy into being yourself instead of towards what you think you should be. Trying to fit in with your perceived ideals of what society requires of you is exhausting. Being who you are and doing what you love is much simpler. That was my lesson.
When things start to click into place
Upon arriving back at work, I knew that I had to make some changes. If I look hard at what I love, it would be literature, people and the outdoors. I have always been drawn to writing but I had never felt I had the time or headspace to commit to it. I started to entertain the idea of switching down to a 4-day week to allow me to share my time with my own aspirations.
While I contemplated this, I tried to find a project that I could dedicate this potential new-found day to. There was a book I had started writing which was a possibility but it wasn’t until I came across my list of favourite crowdfunding projects that I’ve worked with, that I suddenly saw the opportunity. There were all of these incredible stories at my fingertips about the wonderful people I have worked with, crowdfunding for their charities, social enterprises and independent businesses.
What do I do at Crowdfunder?
I should explain a bit more about my role here, I’m a coach, which means that I spend every day talking with different people from all around the UK and helping them to raise more money for their ideas. The natural consequence of this, is that while I’m squirrelled away in the depths of Cornwall, I have quite a good grasp on the pulse of what’s happening in the rest of the country.
I can’t tell you how many thousands of small independent businesses or charities there are out there who are doing something completely fresh, new and exciting. The people behind these projects are hugely determined and inspired to make a difference and I draw a great deal of energy from working with them. I believe these stories to be so rare and interesting that I have decided to travel from Cornwall to Scotland to meet with 10 of my favourites. I invited my cousin Freddie a film maker and close friend Jasper a photographer, to join me on this expedition with the aim of putting together a positive publication, drawing attention to the varied and wonderful things that are happening in our country.
Now for the fun part
With Crowdfunder’s blessing I have been on this great journey and I have been collecting content for them while I collect content for my magazine and conduct the interviews.
When pitching it in they made all the right noises about the idea but the first question was “nice idea Bert, so, how are you going to pay for it?” Funnily enough, the natural answer here was, “well, I’m going to crowdfund it”. (Check out the project here)
So here begins the next chapter of my adventure, testing my own skills as a coach and attempting to raise the £12,000 I need to put together, print and distribute the magazine.
I will be launching the crowdfunding campaign for the ‘Crowdfunder Stories’ magazine on Monday 15th October and I would like you all to join me on the journey. Each week I will upload 2 new blogs and films about my meetings with the projects we have met and I will be delving into exactly why they all did such magnificent crowdfunding campaigns!
From a volunteer organisation tackling social isolation amongst the elderly by taking care home residents on bike rides in their community to a brewery that employs ex-offenders and current serving criminals to help reintroduce them to public life, and many more.
If you like good stories, positive thinking and if you’re interested in being involved in your community, setting up an independent business and crowdfunding them, then this is for you.
Once my project is live on the 15th my main reward will be for a brand spanking new copy of the very first instalment of the magazine, designed by Cornwall based designer Bonnie Mably.
One of the great secrets in looking after your mental health is to get involved in your community and to make some time to do what you love, so if you are struggling these two simple things can help you, I promise.
How does this little chap help young people with learning difficulties to relax and understand more about their behaviour?
Pledge on the magazine and see >> https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/crowdfunder-stories