European Success Story: First Fortnight
Pictured above: the second meeting of MENS Project (Mental European Network of Sport Events) in Prague and resulted in the establishment of the European Network of Active Living for Mental Health (ENLAMH).
About First Fortnight
First Fortnight is an Irish-based charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action and the provision of creative therapies to marginalised groups. The organisation builds audience consensus towards the normalisation of the mental health experience and has hosted a national annual mental health arts festival since 2012.
How did First Fortnight start their European journey?
First Fortnight works closely with Mental Health organisations and groups in Ireland and with a number of European partners in an effort to reduce stigma by engaging the arts and cultural events to build audience interaction and awareness of positive mental health. First Fortnight is a leading partner in two European projects. This includes NEFELE which saw the creation of the first European Mental Health Arts Festival in Athens and a network of 22 members across 10 countries. The MENS project, funded by Erasmus+, sees a movement towards support for the mutual benefits of mental health combined with sports.
What First Fortnight project would you like to spotlight in this European Success Story?
The project we would like to highlight is our Erasmus+ project, ENALMH - European Network of Active Living Mental Health. It’s aims include:
- Emerging of sport and physical exercise as a fundamental parameter to the prevention of mental health problems
- Enrichment of the therapeutic procedures of mental health services through the effective use of sport and physical exercise for the users
- Support and realisation of sports and physical activities for Mental Health by its members
- Contribution to research and educative processes, which aim to clarify and extend the connection between the fields of sport and physical exercise and mental health
- Support the rights of the mental health services users
- Promotion of policies which are related with the connection between the fields of sport and physical exercise and mental health at both European and national level
- Cooperation with other, specialised organisations that are active in the fields mentioned given the fact that only an integrated multidisciplinary holistic approach can deliver the intended results in the field of mental health
This project supports our commitment to further developing the link between sport/exercise and positive mental health and also to increasing the sporting theme in our annual festival programme.
This network includes members from Greece, Italy, the UK, Portugal, Spain, Lithuania, and Croatia.
You can find out more on the project website.
What are Archways’ plans for European funding going forward?
Right now we are satisfied with our direct involvement in two European networks but we are always keeping an eye out for further relevant European funding.
What would you tell people thinking of pursuing EU funding?
It is definitely worth pursuing European funding. Working with a number of European partners can help to gain a better understanding of the workings and progress of organisations from different regions of Europe. It is very rewarding to be involved with a project from the beginning and to see the culmination working in conjunction with a number of European partner organisations.