To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, let us introduce you to one of our new tenants: First Person Project CIC. Founded by Matty Caine, the mental health social enterprise is all about resilience and the transformative power of community. We spoke to Matty about how it started and their work to shape the future of mental health support!

From Personal Struggle to Community Triumph

Matty Caine, CEO and founder of First Person Project CIC.

In 2019, Matty Caine turned his personal challenges into a force for good by founding First Person Project. Matty channelled his grief and personal battles with mental health into creating a social enterprise dedicated to improving support. With over a decade of experience as a Registered Mental Health Nurse, Matty’s approach is both personal and professional.

First Person Project launched with a commitment to harnessing the collective power of people for mental health advocacy. “We focus on what is strong, not what is wrong. Community mental health thrives through connection, not isolation,” Matty says. With an MBA from Liverpool Business School, he shaped First Person Project into an innovative, community-focused enterprise. Matty’s approach is that “together, we can build a network of support that turns understanding into action, compassion into growth, and shared struggles into collective strength.”

Matty is now working on a Doctorate to understand the role of social enterprise and asset-based approaches in improving mental health outcomes in Liverpool City Region. Matty describes the challenge, saying, “there is a reliance upon grant funding across the region. Collaboration and innovation is not always a possibility due to financial constraints and a lack of opportunity.” He believes that the future of mental health improvement lies in innovation.

Transformative Projects and Initiatives

Last year, First Person Project launched a four-week programme aimed at improving the mental health of children and young people. We asked Matty the importance of early intervention in mental health. “Prevention is better than cure,” Matty told us. He added: “they say that one in four people will experience a mental health problem in the UK.” First Person Project is not only interested in the one in four, but also the remaining three in four. “Our model is one which is proactive, inclusive, agile, responsive and without barriers – we work like this in order to ensure that we are ready to learn from all-comers.”

Day-to-day, First Person Project has a packed calendar of events, including groups for men and women, meditation sessions, and community engagement activities. The projects are designed to encourage connection and open conversation, and provide a supportive space for sharing experiences. “We’ve had success supporting people of all ages,” says Matty, “I believe the key is allowing people to do for themselves what they can, without a service encroaching on the space.” In 2022, they teamed up with Torus Foundation on the Healthy Neighbours project, addressing a range of health challenges from food poverty to mental health.

“There is a time and place for mental health services, of course,” explains Matty, “but in every community, there lies a unique power to transform lives. When we unite, we harness our collective empathy to uplift and support one another, proving that the heart of mental health improvement is found in the strength of our shared bonds.”

Back at Baltic Creative

As former tenants of Basecamp, First Person Project make their return to Baltic’s Creative Campus now in their own space. We asked Matty why he decided to bring his team together at the Campus.

“I believe that a social enterprise should be transparent in how their business is positively impacting society. Baltic Creative does both things better than most. I wanted to invest in another local social enterprise and help contribute to a healthier and circular social economy in Liverpool. As an organisation, we have big plans to implement our pioneering style of mental health support and community building in the local area, in a similar manner as we have done across the city.”

Baltic Creative and First Person Project are united in their belief that together, we can achieve more. The Campus not only offers them a dynamic space but also enriches the Baltic Creative community with an invaluable resource for mental health support and education. “Collaboration builds bridges where competition builds walls. By working together, we amplify our potential, creating solutions that are as expansive as our united vision.” We couldn’t agree more, Matty. Welcome back, First Person Project CIC!

Members of the team. All images (c) First Person Project CIC.

You can follow First Person Project CIC at their social media links below. To stay up-to-date with Matty Caine and his Doctorate work, connect with him on Linkedin.

Facebook: @firstpersonprojectcic | Instagram: @firstpersonprojectcic | Twitter: @firstpersoncic | Linkedin: @first-person-project-c-i-c