Cardiff | Eyes Wide Open - Instant crowd funding


I recently got invited to Dance Therapy Cardiff's event, raising awareness  about mental health through community dancing. Tommy and Dan met through a depression support group but bounded over their ambition to help people and raise awareness about mental health. I met the guys at the CDF Eye's wide open event to talk more about their company and what I could do to support them. Tommy told me about his travels to Columbia with AIESEC society at Cardiff University teaching English, living with a host family and dancing with the community. They wanted to bring that Latin-American way of life to Cardiff and get people feeling good. They believe in eliminating the stigma around mental health and raising awareness with their local dance events. It's a great idea and I couldn't wait to get on board. Eye's wide open took place in Cardiff central library, the beer was flowing and the conversation too! As we settled in Gareth introduced himself, the CDF and the aim of these events. It was extremely endearing and moving to hear him be so open about where he'd been as a young adult and where he was going. A sense of empathy and understanding emanated around the room. Fitting with an encompassing theme of support, awareness and development in the community from the projects involved. Put simply it's an instant micro-funding evening. It's such a brilliant idea! Inspired by Detroit soup, a monthly dinner directly funding grants to local projects within the community. Eye's wide open takes three projects and brings them to the publics attention by video. A picture tells a thousands words but, seeing the dynamics and passion in the projects really emphasised their messages.The camera team (Eyes Open Media) not only caught this, but elegantly portrayed the journeys they'd each taken.

Si Martin was representing his project Head Above The Waves. An awesome organisation that promote hope and raise awareness about self harm. They sell merchandise with the purpose of starting conversation. A simple but brilliant way to raise awareness and get people talking. Sabrina Moore of Inner Strength seeks to help people feel better about themselves inside and out. A beautiful message for all of us. Sabrina became a personal trainer to help people suffering, but hopes to get the unemployed out of their rut and back into work. Everybody attending the event brings a £5 grant to give to the project they would like to back. You literally place your money into the jar and funding is done! They're called projects because applicants can be in any stage of their enterprise to apply. That is the beauty of the evening. More importantly everybody made contacts and it was amazing to see such organic networking, as people promptly took numbers and scribbled notes. There was an inspiring talk from key note speaker Neil Cocker who touched on his past, surviving rockstardom and start-ups.

The night came to an abrupt end as the guys from the library had to shut shop. As we made our way out a few of us decided to grab some food and drinks. It was Friday night! Why not?! I'd never eaten at the Corner House before and what a lovely surprise. A great atmosphere, low lights and delicate decor. The food was great and needed! We got to know each other over wine, gin and nibbles and openly spoke about mental illness and depression. It was incredibly refreshing and I've never been in an environment quite like that before. To be completely honest, with complete strangers. I'd only known Tommy from school and met the rest that night! It was incredible, there was an energy and vibe that I can only describe as good and genuine. Quite honestly it was empowering and equally addictive. So we set a day to do some dancing!

The next Eye's wide open event will be Friday 30th October! The key note speaker is from EA games, I'll update more info when I know. Tickets should be available soon. There are a lot of links in this post, but they're all worth your time. There's definitely an exciting buzz in Cardiff and you should be a part of it.

What do you think of the event? Have you had any experiences of mental illnesses first hand of through somebody else? Tweet me, I'd love to hear from you.

The Corner House,
25 Caroline St, 
CF10 1FF
029 2022 8628

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