All Age Autism (AAA) project

we are delighted to extend the following offerings

  1. Advocacy Services: We offer flexible weekly drop-in sessions, designed to accommodate your unique needs.
  2. Support for Individuals Diagnosed with Autism: Our program is tailored to provide assistance and guidance to those diagnosed with autism.
  3. Support for Individuals Experiencing Undiagnosed Symptoms: We are here to lend a helping hand to individuals grappling with undiagnosed symptoms.
  4. Support for Family Members and Friends Aiding Those Affected by Autism: We extend our support to family and friends who play a crucial role in the lives of individuals impacted by autism.
  5. Free Limited-Space Counseling Service:Please note that terms and conditions apply for this valuable service.
  6. Creative Arts Workshops: We encourage creative expression and exploration.
  7. Coding and Webpage Building: For those interested in web design and programming.

The Spectrum Creators (TSC)

Empowering Learners to Express today in a creative way. 

Program details

The Spectrum Creators program is produced for autistic and neuro divergent learners aged 7 to 12. The project will continue fortnightly, every other Monday. 
Half Term: Monday 30th October to Friday 3rd November!
Start: 10am – 12pm
The Program Objectives

The week long program consists of five 2-hour workshops and is driven by daily learning objectives and home based activities, which nurture learners to develop social skills, performing skills and to grow in confidence.

The Team

The program is facilitated by a qualified teacher in Primary Education who specialises in creative arts alongside other music-producing and film professionals.

All practitioners obtain an up-to-date DBS to work safely with children.

Please complete the referral

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

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.

Black History Month 2022

As part of Black History Month October 1 – 31, Engine Inclusion has put together an amazing site that showcases some of the most talent and inspiring people from history.

Please visit :

Just to name a few we have:


‘Daniel Hale Williams founded the first black-owned hospital in America, and performed the world’s first successful heart surgery. At age 20, Williams became an apprentice to a former surgeon general for Wisconsin. Williams studied medicine at Chicago Medical College.

Medical textbooks of the time said that operating on a human heart was too dangerous, and there was no precedent for opening the chest, Long-time Tribune science and medical reporter Ronald Kotulak wrote more than a century later the facts and details of that surgery, “With a scalpel, he cut a small hole in Cornish’s chest,” But the damaged sac had to be closed. With Cornish’s heart beating 130 times a minute beneath his nimble fingers, Williams closed the wound with catgut.”

Cornish lived, and Williams went on to acclaim. In 1894, Williams was appointed chief surgeon at the Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington D.C., which gave care to formerly enslaved blacks. Cornish lived, and Williams went on to acclaim. In 1894, Williams was appointed chief surgeon at the Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington D.C., which gave care to formerly enslaved blacks.


“Mary Seacole was a nurse and businesswoman who provided sustenance and care for British soldiers at the battlefront during the Crimean War. Mary nursed many soldiers during this war and she became known as ‘Mother Seacole’ because of how great she was at caring for the injured. Many sources compare Seacole and Nightingale’s life and work, as if they were at all similar. They only met for about 5 minutes (during the Crimean War) and played very different roles in it.

The NHS Seacole Centre at Headley Court, Surrey, was named in honour of the pioneering nurse Mary Seacole, and provides specialist rehabilitation care for patients who are recovering from COVID-19 in the Surrey region. “


Earl Cameron, was one of the first black actors to win leading roles in British screen dramas, His work ranged from 1950s British films exploring racial politics to Thunderball, Doctor Who and many other projects on stage and screen.

Cameron began his acting career on the London stage in 1941 but his breakout film debut was in ‘Pool of London’ in 1951, a film noir about a group of sailors on shore leave. Mr. Cameron ‘s role, which he co stared with Susan Shaw, was at a time when Black leading men and women were virtually nonexistent on British screens, His character developed a romance with a white woman, This in itself was a milestone as it was the first interracial relationship in British cinema. The first time the subject had been sensitively handled in a British film. Earl Cameron died in July 2020, aged 102.


“Mary Jackson was the first African American female engineer to work at the National Aeronautics and Space. Mary Jackson, American mathematician and aerospace engineer who in 1958 became the first African American female engineer to work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology, She was honoured with a building in her name, the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to this agency’s success. “

We would like to thank Engine Inclusion for putting together this awesome site.

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