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Achieving a personal goal and fundraising - #ReecesMetRace

Posted on: Friday, April 13, 2018

Around the time of his first visits to Manchester, Reece became fascinated by trams. Since then he has kept track of the development of tramways all across the UK. This has also led to him delving deeper into transport systems. The underground railways amaze him, especially the really complicated stations such as Kings Cross. They are a kind of testament to the great work humans can achieve despite the huge challenges. He designs his own maps complete with railway lines, with such attention to detail they could possibly serve as a blueprint for a new towns transport network.

For most people the commute is the worst part of the day, but for Reece it’s a time to indulge in his hobby and as you may imagine, by now he knows the whole Metrolink like the back of his hand.

Recently, this sparked an idea. How fast could somebody ride the entirety of the Metrolink? Being an aficionado on the topic, he was better equipped than most to find out.

Reece standing on the platform, next to a yellow tram

He decided to set up a fundraiser to go along with the idea, the cause being BAND, a mental health charity. This was because firstly it adds momentum to his goal, spurring him on to achieve, as well as the fact he is passionate about people, and values the importance of providing adequate support for mental illness.

People from his daily life got behind the idea, generously becoming sponsors. As well as this the Tram community on Twitter who offered great support and interest.

With the chirp of the birds, Reece was up and on the train to Manchester. Feeling strangely calm. Only once arriving at the starting line, Rochdale station did a little nerves kick in, though he managed to eat a quick breakfast, as he was expecting around 6 hours of game time.

Once it had started, everything ran as smooth as can be wished for, there was outstanding support from social media and even the passengers. The drivers were behind him, assuring to drive as quick as possible.

Later in the day, @CastleFox from the Twitter community even dropped by to accompany Reece a few stops.

 Reece and @CastleFox, who joined him after following his journey on Twitter

And after 6 hours 42 minutes and 2 seconds, the challenge was over.

The first thing Reece did was stop to get himself a hot chocolate. He had hardly been able to eat or drink all day and that hot chocolate tasted all the sweeter.

Manchester Metrolink

As you know, the online community was hugely supportive of Reece. And a great source of support came from Metrolink themselves. Which is why it was amazing when they offered Reece a guided tour of the Metrolink headquarters. He got to drive a tram through Rochdale, on the training simulator of course! (Though he was offered a job based on his driving).

Reece using the Metrolink tram training simulator, which is on a computer with a joystick

He also got the chance to tour the engineering building and the communications room, where all the leg work is done to make sure the trams run as smooth as they do, their work may have even had a hand in helping Reece achieve such a good time. But one of the best parts of the day was getting the chance to step onto the iconic, retired T68 trams. Which was a true blast from the past, and an especially special moment for Reece, even getting to sit in the driver’s seat of the first ever tram in circulation.

Reece standing in the Metrolink control room, where people work on computers and there are screens on the walls

I guess all that’s left is to thank everybody involved, firstly of course to Reece, for raising an amazing £337 in aid BAND. The tram community for their great support. As well as everybody who sponsored Reece, whether online or in real life, the Twitter and Facebook communities who showed an interest and Metrolink for really getting behind the challenge and making it really worthwhile.

A turquoise T68 tram, with Reece in the drivers seat

We are looking for tech savvy volunteers!

Posted on: Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Our exciting computer repair project is in need of committed volunteers.

FixIT doubles up as a computer shop and classroom, it takes people experiencing mental health conditions on as students, where they are able to learn new skills in computer repair, refurbishment and maintenance.

The project has a great impact on its users. The support of volunteers is key, as they offer guidance and empathy, as well as teaching valuable skills. The result is a huge boost in confidence and a sort of snowball effect where the student can then move on to learn about more advanced topics.

We have included an attachment on this page which gives full details of the role, as well as ideas on the sort of person we are looking for.

If the role sounds like something you would enjoy please get in touch -

Happily supporting coding classes

Posted on: Friday, February 9, 2018

When not repairing broken computers, FixIT like to spend a bit of time upgrading working ones. They may decide to exchange parts to boost speed, memory or graphics, depending on what the computer is bound to be used for. They may even bring an older computer up to date with a Windows 10 revamp, which is what happened in a recent project for Westhoughton Community Vision.


The exiciting vision

Westhoughton Community Vision, a learning centre, offers a variety of social, leisure and vocational opportunities to its community. Already boasting a radio station as well as dance and theatre classes, the hub decided to expand its repertoire to include coding classes, which came with the hefty requirement of 30 PC’s.

Gaynor, lead of the hub, approached FixIT with the idea and in FixIT spirit they diligently got to work. They needed to upgrade a lot of machines to fit the bill as well as keeping continuity throughout the lot, which they were able to do, albeit with a bit of tinkering.


Minecraft coding

The result however, has been very much rewarding, as 60 children can now access Minecraft coding classes and the project has a view of expanding into similar adult sessions. It goes without saying that FixIT are extremely proud of their role in setting up the foundations for this and would like to thank Gaynor Ratcliffe as well as Westhoughton Community Vision for the opportunity.

All the best and of course, happy coding!


More about FixIT

FixIT are a charity computer repair shop. As well as this they offer free lessons in computer repair, refurbishment and maintenance to anyone who has experienced mental illness. If you are want to support the project, please consider donating your old unwanted computers, tablets or laptops, which will be used for teaching students and then selling to raise funds. You can also pop in the shop with your computer problems and queries.

Contact FixIT:

Rally Round Me - Why we're excited

Posted on: Friday, January 26, 2018

When a family member needs some support, it can be a hard time for both the person supporting as well as the person recieving support. We would always prefer to look after our loved ones ourselves, but the strain on one carer can be very demanding too, which can have knock on effects.

The mobile app

We have recently adopted a resource called Rally Round Me. It is an app designed to grow a persons support network, and eliminate the sole carer. Now the person being supported will have a strong network instead of relying on one exhausted person. There will be adequate support with tasks shared between a larger group of people, all of whom will have unique traits and personalities which will be beneificial.

The support system could consist of family, friends, or professionals, who share duties over the app. For instance, the friend being supported may ask for some help with his shopping on Friday. Which will then be sent out as a notification over the app. Whoever feels it's convinient, can simply accept the invitation and then do the shopping on Friday.

Volunteer support

Among the support network, there is the possibility to include a professional, for this reason we have opened up several volunteer positions. The volunteer would make up one part of the support network, assisting a person day-to-day, working with them on recovery plans and building a positive partnership with the aim of growth and independance. The volunteers would be fully trained and supported by BAND. 

You can find out more about volunteering in this role at our volunteer information days. Details on the next volunteer information day can be found under upcoming events, on our homepage.

If you have any questions, we are available by phone or email.

Christmas Mental Health Support

Posted on: Thursday, December 21, 2017

It is true that Christmas is a wonderful time of year. But it can also lead to high stress and anxiety. If you find that your mental health is suffering there are various organisations around Bolton who can lend some support over the holidays. You can find different organisations and their opening hours here:

Please do have a lovely Christmas and make sure you look after yourself.


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