The story behind ’83 Strong’ at CHAOS

May we introduce our fabulous partners in Cornwall… CHAOS.

CHAOS (which stands for Community Helping All Of Society) are helping disadvantaged and vulnerable people by engaging them in activities and supporting them to access work in the community. We popped down to Café CHAOS to chat to Babs about what’s going on at the moment and what she’s proud of.

“The biggest personal achievement was the work that we’ve done with the three men who created the “83 Strong” radio programme.

“They all came in to Chaos at different levels. Ty – an ex offender came in via the Bushcraft and then progressed to the creative division.

“Tony had struggled with mental health and has autism.

“Patrick struggled with severe mental health and anxiety.

“Together they met and formed a strong friendship and bond through their humour! They did the 16-week course which covered everything from radio to design.

“While they were learning the radio division they found they in fact had natural presenting skills themselves.

“Patrick and Ty have such a natural rapport and their humour bounces off each other. And Tony has incredible technical skills as well as being an amazing designer.

“When it came to be having four weeks left of the course, we thought let’s plan a radio show! We got an extension for 8 weeks, and so we planned a radio show and started making podcasts.

“I worked closely with them while they started the live shows. They chose the name and branding – 83 Strong represents the 83 male suicides a week. Their show is the only one of its kind that talks purely about male mental health.

“They wanted it to be a space where men could talk and share journey’s.

“At first, I worried that the content was too heavy to be every week, until I realised that they were almost using the show as therapy of their own. Sharing with others was lightening it for themselves, and as the show progressed you could see it begin to lighten up.

“It became a funny show, talking about topical things and bantering off each other. You could see the natural progression of their mental health.

“It truly was original!

“After the extension ended they still wanted to continue, and it was too good not to keep it going. It is now a regular Tuesday show, they’ve even had guests on from the Positive People programme to chat and talk about their experiences.

“The aim now is to try and get more Positive People on the show as well as, hopefully, other charities and the biggest aim is to get someone from Big Lottery on!

“They feel like they’ve got a chance to start again. Ty has now also set up his own business, and is able to market and promote alongside the radio show.

“Patrick is going to go back to university too.

“The biggest difference in these men is their confidence. They’re now the ones coming to me with all their plans and ideas. They know what they want to talk about, they know what’s topical and they’re not afraid to be controversial!”