Foundation announced as Lead Coordinator for YEF’s Neighbourhood Fund

The Aston Villa Foundation has been successful in its bid to become the Lead Coordinator for the Youth Endowment Fund’s (YEF) Neighbourhood Fund in Lozells and Newtown.

The YEF’s Neighbourhood Fund was set up to learn how empowering local people to make decisions about their own local neighbourhoods can prevent children from becoming involved in violent crime and anti-social behaviour.

Five areas in England and Wales have been selected to receive funding: Cardiff, Bradford, Norfolk, Manchester and Birmingham. Each location will receive £1 million to put their community’s plan to protect children from crime and violence into action.

The Lead Coordinator’s role is to enable the project’s steering group to deliver a community-led action plan. The plan focuses on empowering individuals to work collaboratively, supporting them to deliver programmes and services that respond to the needs of the community and positively impact the lives of those living there.

Hosted at Villa Park, a successful soft-launch event was held on Wednesday, April 26, to update those involved in the community consultation on the project progress to date.

Chair of the Community Steering Group, Michelle Kelly shared:

“I have lived in Lozells most of my life, and I feel proud to be part of this community initiative.

“We need to become better at listening to the community and I’d like to think we have heard what has been said at our soft launch event.

“We strongly encourage other community members that live or work in Lozells or Newtown, to connect with our steering group and become part of the change, to help us build Equity for our community. I feel it opens up the possibilities for co-design to be the way forward. 

“I’m really excited to be a part of this YEF initiative, and I am happy that the Aston Villa Foundation want to be supporting our community to build stronger links.”

Aston Villa Foundation Manager, Ross Alexander shared:

 “The Aston Villa Foundation is proud to have been appointed as Lead Coordinators in supporting the Youth Endowment Fund’s Community Steering Group. 

“We want the Foundation to be an enabler for our communities of Newtown and Lozells, working together to offer them guidance and a voice, making a legacy impact that communities will continue to benefit from for years to come.”

Original article produced By Aston Villa FC, content and images can be found here




The Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) aims to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence, by finding out what works, for whom and why. The Neighbourhood Fund is one of the programmes that YEF is funding. It’s aim is to understand if and how empowering people to make decisions about their local neighbourhoods prevents children from becoming involved in violence.

BVSC Research and their partners University of Birmingham and University of Wolverhampton, were commissioned to undertake community research and co-design activity. This activity sat across three phases, Feasibility, Discovery and Co-Design. The first phase saw Lozells and Newtown identified as the ‘hyperlocal’ area of focus for the Neighbourhood Fund. This report sets out the findings from the second phase, the Discovery Phase.

The Discovery phase was led by the University of Birmingham, employing the Use-It model of Community Research. The research focused on exploring the ideas of local people in relation to the needs of the area and potential solutions. The aim was to seek the views of individuals from the
community who would not usually have a voice. To achieve this, the University of Birmingham recruited 29 individuals who live and work in Lozells and Newtown and provided accredited community research
training. 13 individuals went forward to complete 38 interviews with individuals from the area.

Interviewees came from a range of different communities and included individuals who had personal experience of youth violence, having been victims of violence, spent time in prison, witnessed the aftermath of stabbings, experienced police brutality and lost close friends to knife and gun crime.

Read more in the PDF below.

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone This April 2023

We are back with April’s Group, so please set a side some time for the 28th April 2023 6:00 – 8:00PM

HOT TOPIC! Social Media: Parents usage & the Impact on their children!

28th April 2023 // 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm // Online every month *In person Groups and Outings monthly

Ladies, it’s time to make a difference join The Nubian Team (TNT) as we take you on a journey of self discovery with our group designed for woman!

Pitch Your Brand!

Pitch your brand to our group. Local Entrepreneurs and business people we’ll help to get you out there.

Get On It

Discussing a key topic, thoughts and opinions in a non-judgemental location. (See Eventbrite for Topic!)

Online and In-person

We have a safe space to talk and connect with other like-minded individuals – Find out more please get in touch with us.

Help & Support

Find out what’s happening in your community and where to get support.

Join our ‘The Nubian Team’ to get on top of topics that affect us but are normally avoided.

The Hot Topic for 28th April 2023:-

‘Social Media: Parents usage & the Impact on their children’

Topic: TNT Women’s Group ZOOM 2023

Save the link!: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime

Join Zoom Meeting 18:00 – 20:00

Meeting ID: 837 7707 2518

Passcode: 124633

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+442034815237,,83777072518#,,,,*124633# United Kingdom

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Dial by your location

+44 203 481 5237 United Kingdom

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Let’s speak the unspoken and stand firm in who we are and what we do!

Our organisational Project to breakdown the narrative of mental health is called RESPECT which stands for:

Respecting, Every, Single, Perspective/Person’s, Emotional, Challenge, Together.

We hope that embodying RESPECT we can make this Podcast/Group a safe space to be genuine, to cry, to hurt, to deal with shame and all the things that life throws at us, including the ‘Inequalities’ that impact women.

Our Women’s group is launching thanks to the support of Heart Of England that have funded the project. It will consists of three strands:-

  1. Monthly online podcast
  2. Face to face workshops
  3. Community events, so ‘Watch this space‘ for future updates!

We will have ‘Well Women Packs’ as guest give away in our online competitions and face to face groups.

Sadly , Black women we are 4 times more likely to die in pregnancy or giving birth than our white counterparts.(BBC, 2022)

45% of Black women working in white-collar jobs in the UK believe they will be overlooked for promotion despite having equal competence as a non-Black female colleague. (Black Women In The UK Workplace Online)

All of these intersectionality’s will have an impact on our Mental Health.

We will discuss the issues that raise the uncomfortableness, while facilitating a safe space that we can Support and Empower each other.

Most importantly RESPECT each other.

Respecting, Every, Single, Perspective/Person’s, Emotional, Challenge, Together.

For more information on how you can be involved please contact us

Suicide Prevention Webinar



This webinar aims to teach the basic skills needed to identify someone who may be thinking about suicide and to enable them to engage the support they need , eventually signposting that person onto a suicide first aider or other professional support.

The insight gained from this webinar on the topic of suicide and the continuum that prevails will aid learners to become more aware of their interactions with people potentially needing support.  

Date: March 22, 2023

Time: Wednesday, 6:00 – 7:30 PM

Facilitator Name:  Michelle Kelly

The learning outcomes aim to raise your insight so that you can spot the early signs of someone needing support, before they escalate to crisis point. Statistics show that the earlier intervention takes place the better the outcomes are for a fuller recovery.

  • Understand how language and the Stigma that can be attached can hinder or aid the support of someone in crisis.
  • Understand the Suicide Continuum
  • Understand the Intention of behavior versus outcome of behavior 
  • Postvention, responding to safeguard after an incident
  • Understand the importance of self-care when supporting others in crisis

For more information on this webinar please visit:

For more information on choose love events please visit:

RESPECT© Campaign

A Father’s Child Services CIC campaign RESPECT©, was launched during covid-19.  It underpins our values of: Respecting, Every, Single, Perspective/Person’s, Emotional, Challenge, Together which is the blueprint for how we approach Mental Health as an organisation.

No matter who you are, or what you bring, we provide services that aim to breakdown the stigma, and place services users at the helm of the support they receive.

We believe that acceptance has no boundaries.

Michelle Kelly Live on UNITY FM: What Shape Are You In?

Michelle Kelly Director and founder of A Father’s Child Services will be a guest speaker on the Birmingham Radio station Unity FM hosted by Beresford Dawkins – Community Development Lead at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

What Shape Are You In?

Michelle Kelly will be taking part in: A mental health program on Unity FM which covers all aspects of mental health issues including depression, loneliness, self-help, recovery, etc. This program supports families and carers and regular guests include NHS staff who are giving their expertise and answering any questions listeners may have. This program takes place every Wednesday between 4-5pm.

Click here at that time to listen to the live stream : live stream

Find out more please visit:

Your Community Radio

Radio frequency 93.5FM

You can listen to your favourite community station, Unity FM, live from a PC or mobile using the player below. Just hit play and let us do the rest.

About Unity FM

Unity FM Birmingham’s largest Muslim community radio station. We have enjoyed a number of successes over the years through the detailed yet enjoyable exploration of socio-political and religious issues resulting in interviews with people from all walks of life. We pride ourselves on being a key catalyst for good, independent and impartial journalism assisted by lively debate and interesting discussions which are commonplace on our radio station. Some of our guests have included senior academics from Harvard University, officials from the UN, Members of Parliament, Government Ministers, and representatives of leading NGOs, including the CEOs of Islamic Relief & Oxfam.


Bipolar disorder

I would like to thank the fantastic people at for reaching out to me on this amazing article around the topic of Bipolar Disorder. You can find the original post here Written by Emily Whitton – Last updated on 27th October, 2022 | Next review due 27th April, 2024

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterised by dramatic shifts in mood, energy, behaviour, and thinking. On this page, we’ll explore what bipolar disorder is, including the different types, symptoms, and how counselling can help. 

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a condition that can make it difficult for sufferers to regulate their moods. Symptoms of bipolar disorder (manic and depressive episodes) can often overwhelm a person’s functioning, and may even influence them to behave in ways that are beyond their true nature. Despite this, many people don’t recognise the warning signs of bipolar disorder and may miss out on getting the help they need.

People with bipolar disorder experience contrasting episodes of intense highs and lows (mania and depression). These cycles are unlike ordinary mood swings. They can last for days, weeks and even months, and are capable of affecting a sufferer’s health, relationships, day-to-day living and overall quality of life.

There are various means of treatment for bipolar disorder that can help to alleviate symptoms, making life easier and the condition more manageable.

YouTube player

In this video, counsellor Michelle Kelly explains what bipolar disorder is in more detail and how counselling can help. 

Types of bipolar disorder 

The term ‘bipolar’ means ‘two poles’, and this specifies the two extreme opposite moods – mania and depression – that characterise the disorder. These moods will surface as episodes, which vary according to the symptoms that occur and patterns of mood changes. Sometimes, symptoms of mania and depression can overlap, creating a completely different face of bipolar disorder. 


The manic phase of bipolar disorder is ultimately a period of optimism, confidence, and energy, and episodes can last from weeks to months. Although increased confidence and creativity may seem a positive experience to people with bipolar disorder, often these emotions are so intense that they will impair judgement and thinking. 

Overestimating how much they can do can lead some people to carry out reckless behaviour such as making bad decisions, spending more money than a person can afford, acting aggressively, and possibly even putting themselves in danger of serious harm. During a manic episode, people may talk very quickly, not eat or sleep and may become easily annoyed. In some cases, people will develop symptoms of psychosis (a delusional state in which they may hear voices and become convinced of things that are not true). 


The depressive phase of bipolar disorder tends to be worse than mild forms of depression – especially as episodes will last longer (on average around six months). People will find it very difficult to deal with life in an effective way and may end up staying in bed all day feeling unable to face the world. Just as in a manic episode, depressive phases of bipolar disorder may involve symptoms of psychosis. 

Mixed bipolar episode 

Some people with bipolar disorder may have periods where they have a mixture of symptoms, meaning they will alternate quickly from a state of mania to depression and back again, usually within a few hours. This can lead to irritability, hostility, and aggression, and in severe cases intervention may be needed to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them. 


This is a less severe form of mania in which common symptoms of euphoria and hyperactivity will not affect how people function in their day-to-day lives. Despite this, a period of hypomania can quickly spiral out of control and may cause disruption to relationships, careers, and reputations. There is also the possibility that hypomania will escalate to mania, or may be followed by a chronic depressive episode.

Who can get bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is common, affecting around one in 100 people.

It can occur at any age but it typically develops during the mid-late teenage years and generally won’t develop in people over the age of 40. Men and women from all backgrounds are equally affected, but the pattern of mood swings and the type of bipolar disorder will vary from person to person. This means that while some people have only had a couple of bipolar episodes in their lifetime, others may have frequent episodes and will rarely experience emotional stability.

Patterns of bipolar disorder 

A condition of extremes, bipolar disorder can be unpredictable in nature. It can surface in the form of regular ups and downs throughout a person’s life, or it can be much more severe – occurring frequently and much more intensely. There are different types of bipolar disorder that can present varying degrees of symptoms. 

It’s worth noting that not all medical professionals agree on how to classify bipolar disorder. Here are a few subtypes:

‘Rapid cycling’ refers to a type of bipolar disorder in which someone has four or more episodes of manic, depressive, hypomania or mixed episodes a year. They may swing from high to low moods quite quickly and are unlikely to experience a period of normal mood in between. This can make it very hard for sufferers to hold down a job or enjoy healthy relationships. Often, many will not be aware that a manic episode has surfaced and thus are likely to consider other people as negative or unhelpful if they express concern.  

A less severe pattern of bipolar disorder is Cyclothymic disorder. This is where an individual will have short periods of mild depression and short periods of hypomania. Symptoms will be fewer and will not have such a significant impact on a sufferer’s day-to-day life.

Bipolar disorder can also be affected by the seasons, which is diagnosed a ‘Bipolar 1 or 2 with seasonal pattern‘. 

Sometimes, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder might be unspecified. It’s important to remember that if you do receive this diagnosis, your experiences are no less than someone with a diagnosed type of bipolar and you are equally able to receive support.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder

Symptoms of bipolar disorder will differ according to the type of episode someone is experiencing. A manic episode or depressive episode is typically diagnosed if three or more of the mood symptoms below occur nearly every day for at least a week.

Common symptoms of a manic episode

  • feeling unusually ‘high’ and active
  • easily distracted and struggling to concentrate
  • racing thoughts and talking very quickly
  • extreme irritability – particularly with those who don’t share the same optimism and enthusiasm
  • over-familiar and/or critical with other people
  • little sleep but feeling extremely hyperactive and energetic
  • acting recklessly and on impulse – without thinking about the consequences
  • less inhibited in general

Symptoms of a depressive episode 

  • sleeping too much or difficulty sleeping
  • change in appetite – leading to weight gain or weight loss.
  • long-lasting sad or anxious mood
  • decreased energy and extreme tiredness
  • loss of interest in pleasure and activities usually enjoyed
  • thoughts of death and/or suicide
  • difficulty in starting or completing everyday tasks
  • isolation from other people

Psychotic symptoms

In rare cases, episodes of bipolar disorder can become so severe that people may start to develop symptoms of psychosis, which characterise an increasing loss of touch with reality. These include delusions (believing in things that seem irrational to other people) and hallucinations (unusual sensations, such as hearing or seeing things that are not there).

In a manic psychotic episode, sufferers may show signs of unrealistic, grandiose thoughts about their abilities and powers. In contrast, psychotic depression tends to involve people feeling intense failure, guilt, and worthlessness. Hallucinations are commonly voices that reinforce these feelings.

Symptoms of a mixed bipolar episode

If someone is experiencing a mixed bipolar episode, their symptoms will reflect both mania or hypomania and depression. This combination of high energy and low mood will typically involve agitation, irritability, racing thoughts and anxiety. People with bipolar disorder experiencing these symptoms tend to be more vulnerable to thoughts of death and suicide.

Causes of bipolar disorder

Currently, the exact causes of bipolar disorder are unknown, but it is thought a combination of factors can trigger an episode and make a person more prone to developing the condition. These are a complex mix of biological, social and environmental factors. 

  • Genetics – Bipolar disorder runs in families, so a hereditary link is thought to be present. If a family member has the condition, individuals have a higher-than-average risk of developing it themselves.
  • Chemical imbalances – As with depression and other psychological problems, imbalances of chemicals in the brain may also be linked to bipolar disorder.
  • Stressful experiences – Life-altering events and stressful situations are common triggers of bipolar disorder symptoms. These may include the breakdown of a relationship, the death of a loved one, abuse or trauma.
  • Overwhelming daily problems – Over time, the emotional and physical impact of illnesses, sleep disturbances, financial issues, and problems at work can lead to episodes of depression that characterise bipolar disorder. 

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

In many cases, people with bipolar disorder will be unaware that they have the condition. Therefore it tends to be friends, family and/or colleagues who will pick up on any extreme highs and lows – and that a person is not acting their normal self.

If your loved ones express concern, you should consider making an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. If left untreated, bipolar disorder can worsen and may lead to complications within your relationships, your career, and your health. 

Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed, as many people will visit their doctor to seek help for what they consider to be depression. Depression is a common illness and there is a great deal of awareness regarding symptoms, yet there is very little regarding mania or hypomania. As a result, people with bipolar disorder may not recognise that in the past they have experienced symptoms of mania or hypomania. Alternatively, at the time of visiting the doctor, they may not have had any episodes of such feelings.

To ensure the right diagnosis, your doctor will assess your behaviour and check for typical symptoms of bipolar disorder. They may also ask you to complete a set of questions about your mood, such as how you feel leading up to and during an episode of mania or depression. Your family history might also be looked at to see if there is a genetic possibility you might have the condition. If your doctor suspects you do have bipolar disorder they will usually refer you to a mental health professional who will confirm the diagnosis and recommend treatment to help you get your life back on track and your symptoms under control.

The GP I saw was fantastic. He actively listened to my experiences and sent me for a psychiatric assessment where I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

– Read Katie’s story.

Treatment for bipolar disorder

Due to the chronic nature of the condition, bipolar disorder normally requires long-term treatment to prevent relapses. Treatment is designed to help people feel in control of their illness – keeping symptoms at bay and preventing new episodes from occurring.

Typically, medication such as mood stabilisers will be prescribed, but the most effective treatment for bipolar disorder is considered to be a combination of counselling/therapy, lifestyle changes, medication and social support.

Counselling for bipolar disorder

Working with an experienced therapist can help people with bipolar disorder to better understand the nature of their illness and recognise the triggers of their manic or depressive episodes

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a popular approach as it is designed to help individuals change negative thought patterns and learn new coping skills. Family therapy is another approach often used in bipolar treatment as it helps to improve communication between family members and the person living with the condition.

If you feel ready to connect with a counsellor or therapist, we recommend reaching out to a few professionals to begin with so that you can find the best fit for you.  

Lifestyle changes

Making changes to the way you live your life can help you manage your bipolar disorder diagnosis. Ways in which you can do this include eating a nutritious, balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and making time to do activities that you enjoy and that give you a sense of achievement. 

RESPECT: Youth & Community Resilience

We are an organisation that supports those most marginalised within the community.  We try to bring creative tools to table to support the needs of all in our community.

To become a backer please visit:

We deliver various training and services to support and aid the maintenance of mental health well-being and recovery.

Project Owner: A Fathers Child Services CIC

The Project Owner takes legal responsibility for receiving and spending the funds raised and ensuring the project is delivered.

We would like to deliver an autonomous based blended service aimed at tackling the Prevention, Intervention and Education of our Youths & communities with a Trauma Informed approach.

We aim to deliver a community-based resilience programme in Ladywood to meet the needs of our youths & families within the community. Covid-19 has impacted local communities & in particular those that were already marginalised, diminishing the equity and resilience for us to thrive. By pledging to our project, you can help to meet your social objectives by supporting our community.

The Young Minds report 2022 states: Analysis from the Centre for Mental Health has shown that 1.5 million children and young people will need mental health support as a direct result of the pandemic over the next three to five years. Also, that: Two thirds of young people who need specialist support couldn’t access it. Many young people got told they were not ‘ill enough’ to qualify for support.

We will help to mitigate the impact & provide an understanding of trauma, build the empowerment &resilience to respond

What we’ll deliver:

  • Advocacy: Empowerment in youths & Community members ability to self advocate
  • 2. Counselling for Adults and Young people in educational settings or community
  • 3. Empowerment & Resilience workshops to build community equity and resilience

Why it’s a great idea:

It will provide community members with new skills on how to assert themselves as we support to advocate, we will encourage self-advocacy. We can help them to build skills to encourage understanding of the issues they may face as well as resilience. By delivering Drama and Creative arts workshops we will allow communities to express themselves in a creative way, & the research shows that art can have a huge impact on helping to alleviate stress and symptoms of depression. Our counselling & mentoring sessions will provide that therapeutic space to address the emotional resilience & self-esteem issues that may be linked with our community’s adverse childhood experiences and poor coping strategies that may have been born out of their circumstances. We bring HOPE in times of adversity.

Steps to get it done:

  • Securing volunteers with our local universities to help with the cost of the project
  • Identifying 2 schools in our area that will benefit and collaborate with us to build the resilience of their children

Research shows that young people that are excluded from schools are mainly boys, who are at a higher risk of suiciding, those from mixed or Black ethnic groups who are already marginalised and impacted by poor housing and links to mental health. Older children which means disrupting their chance of further education and exposing them to more risk in terms of being groomed or exploited by gangs. Also, those who had additional learning needs (SEND/ASN/ALN), eligibility for free school meals (FSM) and those who have Child in Need (CiN) status, so those that are already quite vulnerable. Research shows that, children & young people who were excluded from school were more likely to have behavioural difficulties, difficulties with peers and attention difficulties. Most importantly, those who were excluded also had lower scores for positive wellbeing, emotional strengths and skills and support networks.

Our programme of resilience is a trauma informed holistic approach bringing HOPE.

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If you are in need of immediate help and support, we have put together a list of local and national services that could help you.

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