The #WeMakeEvents Support Hub brings together multiple charities and organisations that have been playing an integral part in supporting the industry
UK - Backup is once again the lead charity on the #WeMakeEvents Support Hub at this year's PLASA Show. The #WeMakeEvents Support Hub brings together multiple charities and organisations that have been playing an integral part in supporting the industry.
The team will be on Stand A80 (part of the #WeMakeEvents Hub) to offer support, raise awareness of mental health and help remove the stigma that surrounds it. Trained mental health first aiders from Backup and Music Support will be on hand to provide advice and information for anyone who wants to talk, either for themselves or for someone they want to signpost to get industry help, throughout the show, with PLASA also bringing in EventWell to provide a specific Wellbeing and Safe Space for anyone who needs immediate help at the show.
On Monday 4 September at 11.30am in Seminar Theatre 3, Backup will also host a session entitled Neurodiversity and our Industry - the Advantages and Challenges. Host Jess Allan from Backup will be joined by counsellor/psychotherapist, Chris Madden, MBACP registered and part of MITC, Mig Burgess, senior lecturer, co-chair of the ABTT, Mental Health First Aid (England) instructor and a trustee at Backup, Daisy Simmons, a freelance lighting designer who, having graduated this year, is just starting out and was diagnosed as autistic in 2019, Dinesh Sattee, a freelance technician working in theatre, who has a couple of years’ experience in the industry and was diagnosed with autism as a child, and experienced mix engineer, Phil Wright, who was diagnosed with ADHD in childhood and more recently with autism.
The session will discuss how the industry naturally attracts neurodiverse people and how their creative and unique ways of problem-solving can be at the heart of making the impossible possible, the challenges they can face, how they can be overcome and how we can make sure the industry can properly support them in their working environment.
“This subject that has not really been discussed publicly in our industry, is an area we are only just starting to explore, but one that we, as Backup, are passionate about addressing,” says Jess.
“Our aim is to look at neurodiversity through the professional eyes of Chris, alongside Mig’s industry expertise and experience of talking with people on this subject and being an MHFA trainer, as well as through the real-world experiences of Daisy, Dinesh, and Phil, who will provide the perspective of someone who is just starting out in their career, and someone who has forged a highly successful career by understanding their own needs and using that knowledge to their advantage.”
Backup will also be part of the PLASA Wellbeing in the Industry session on 5 September from 12.30pm to 1.15pm in Seminar Theatre 1, where attendees can hear from PLASA, Backup, Stagehand and Music Support about their own initiatives to support wellbeing in live events and entertainment.
“It can be very difficult to ask for help, whatever it is you need, and even more so when your mental health is affected,” says Backup vice chair, Piers Shepperd. “The Wellbeing and Support Hub proved to be a successful initiative last year and we’re delighted that PLASA has invited us back to be part of it again. We’re also pleased that we can shine a light on neurodiversity and are extremely grateful to, Daisy, Dinesh and Phil for their openness and honesty, and for agreeing to be part of the session.
“Our hope is that it will provide truly meaningful insight into both the challenges and the huge benefits of the industry embracing a truly diverse workforce and will encourage other people, both freelancers and their employers, to do the same.”
Information will also be available about Backup’s AJ Bursary for free Mental Health First Aider training for freelancers via industry course provider Music Support, so if you want to find out more about them and how training as a Mental Health First Aider can help you and the people you work with, please visit the Wellbeing and Support Hub.
For more information about the sessions and to register to attend, please visit

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