AFTER 12 people close to Tracy Cuthbertson took their own lives in a short space of time, she decided she had to try to make a difference.
The result was the WaterWell Foundation Community Interest Company, which was incorporated in July 2020.
Last year at Rossendale Business Awards, WaterWell, based in Waterfoot, won the Part-Time Business category sponsored by Winter Solicitors.
Chief Executive Officer Tracy said: “It was nerve-racking to be at the awards and I never thought we would win. I was over the moon; it was so nice to be recognised.
“If my motivation ever dips, I just think about winning the award and it gives me a boost.”
Tracy has had a lot of people saying they wished they had been able to help their friend or relative in their time of need, but they didn’t know how.
Now she wants to ‘build and army’ of people who have been trained in how to spot the signs of mental health, low mood and people in crisis. As she said: “You can’t win a war on your own.”
This has led to WaterWell partnering up with ZSA – Zero Suicide Alliance – and a link on the foundation’s website takes visitors to free suicide awareness and prevention training.
Tracy said: “One of the biggest issues in Rossendale is how much things have changed. When I left school at 16 and went to work in a mill, I had a safety net of people around me that I could talk to if I had problems.
“Now a lot of those industries have gone, many people travel outside of the area for work, and then often don’t know the people living around them when they come back home.
“Covid has also not helped because a lot of people continued to work from home meaning they were even more socially isolated.
“We need to be reaching out into our communities and talking to each other. When you see your neighbour, smile and have a chat; rebuilding those connections.
“When someone is feeling low, they may not be able to help themselves, but someone in the network of people around them, might be able to get them talking. The training helps people to have the confidence to speak to someone in crisis and it alerts them to the warning signs, like changes in habits.”
Tracy is appealing for businesses in Rossendale to support WaterWell to gain social value, either by financially backing the CIC, supporting staff to work as volunteers or asking the WaterWell to lead awareness training or provide one-to-one support.
Volunteers are needed to help fund-raise and organise events; ideally someone who has ideas and the ability to make them happen.
The next big event for the foundation will be at Christmas and is a joint venture with the Rotary Club and Lumb Millennium Green Trust to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
To find out more visit www.waterwellfoundation.co.uk or check out the Facebook page.
Nominations for the 2023 Rossendale Business Awards are open now until October 20. To nominate a business, charity or individual contact www.r-awards.co.uk