Volunteers are proving to be invaluable in helping a charity reach out to people who are suffering from mental health issues.
The People’s Cafe @ Monteiro - at the Age Concern building, in Beach Road, South Shields, has become a place of hope for those who may be experiencing a difficult time in their lives.
Many Mind clients volunteer with us as part of their recovery from their mental health problem.ManyStuart Dexter
The cafe, which is open Monday to Friday, from 10am until 3pm, is run by Tyneside and Northumberland Mind. It was launched to give people somewhere to go to chat if they were struggling with life.
Since then, the project has grown with the help of volunteers – some of whom have suffered their own mental health issues – whether it be low self-esteem, lack of confidence, depression or anxiety.
By taking on a role in the cafe, a number who may at one point have believed they may have had no future, have gone on to find jobs or gone back into full-time education.
With Christmas only next week and the heightened stresses and pressures surrounding this time of year, Mind says this could be the time when people, in particular those suffering from a mental health issue, need support more than ever.
According to research by the charity, one in four people will experience a mental health issue.
For young people it is one in 10.
Cafe Lead, Kym Lockney said: “The cafe was initially created to give people who were feeling low, a safe place they could come and talk or maybe just somewhere they could come to get them out of the house.
“Since then we have had volunteers come on board who have had their own battles with mental health issues and they have gone on to thrive and overcome those issues.
“One of my volunteers has been named Volunteer of the Year.”
Chief executive of Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, Stuart Dexter said: “Volunteering has two benefits – it is a great way to boost your self esteem and confidence, meet new people and also prepare for work or training.
“Many Mind clients volunteer with us as part of their recovery from their mental health problem as it provides a safe, supportive environment in which to develop your skills.
“The other benefit is that it helps us provide our services to more people. Funding for charities such as Tyneside & Northumberland Mind is becoming more and more scarce and volunteers help us help more people. Projects such as our Get Set to Go sports project really benefit from volunteers’ involvement and some of our services, such as The People’s Café, would not be possible without volunteers.”
To volunteer at the cafe call 275 8940 or for roles within Mind call 477 4545.
Our series of articles over the next two weeks aim to cover the days leading up to Christmas, which statistically is a tough time for those who have found themselves struggling to cope with life.
Each day, with the help of Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, we will be focusing on a different topic about mental health and wellbeing as well as inviting you to carry out a small act of kindness.
The campaign aims to encourage people to reach out to others and – for those who are struggling – show that there can be light at the end of the tunnel.
Today the charity is calling on people to spend time listening - really listening - to someone, to give them time and your attention.
Call: 275 8940
Drop in: Dora Dixon House, 29 Beach Road, South Shields.
Call: 116 123