Helping Mid-Cheshire MIND Extend Their Reach

A mental health charity from Winsford has doubled the number of people it has supported thanks to a three-year programme of funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

A grant of £30,000 helped the Mid-Cheshire MIND charity employ Support Worker Claire Fox to step up their services offered and free up Charity Manager Beryl Houghton to build vital partnerships in the community.

And so Mid-Cheshire MIND, which supports anyone over the age of 18 who is suffering or recovering from mental health difficulties, is now helping between 250 and 350 people a month.

Beryl says: “Over the past three years our aim has been to increasingly focus on encouraging service users to participate in community events and activities, to undertake volunteer working opportunities and to empower them to support and motivate each other.

“This has been achieved by working in partnership with the local Mayoress to organise a Wellbeing Week, a yearly Christmas tree festival with a local church, and the D-Fest street festival which encourages other small local groups to hold a celebration and remind people of the great community spirit in Winsford.

“We have also done so much more, and this has only been achievable and successful due to having our extra funded member of staff in Claire – her enthusiasm and hard work has been inspiring.

“Without the Steve Morgan Foundation funding, all of this would have been nigh on impossible to achieve.

“The number of people using the centre for advice, both professional and peer support, has doubled creating added pressure on the full-time staff.

“Without Claire on the team we would have struggled to provide the group with the fun and personal touch that is missing from so many people’s lives when they are diagnosed with a mental health condition.

“It has also allowed me to continue to carry out our programme of constant networking, raising the profile not just of Mid- Cheshire MIND but of mental health in general.”

This latest funding over the last three years follows previous support from the Steve Morgan Foundation between 2008 and 2011.

Claire says she has relished the opportunity provided over the last three years, which has included leading on so many different activities including a weekend in the Peak District involving archery, rock climbing, abseiling, raft building, canoeing and high ropes!

“Throughout the last three years I have met many interesting and diverse people and have heard some amazing life stories,” she says.

“I have talked to and supported some very distressed people and have learnt how to deal with this, and I have not shied away from talking about suicide when necessary.

“It has shown me that we need patience, compassion, creative thinking, problem solving skills and of course a sense of humour!

“I hope that I have all of these to some degree but will continue to learn every day that I work at Mid-Cheshire MIND.”

Jane Harris, Regional Grants Director with the Steve Morgan Foundation, adds: “We have been pleased to have supported such a vital charity which helps some of the most vulnerable people in Winsford and across mid-Cheshire.

“It is a reflection of the times that increasing numbers of people are suffering stress and mental health problems, often as a result of financial and employment difficulties.

“The help given by Mid Cheshire Mind in so many different areas can be a lifeline to those people in need, and it is clear that the work of Beryl, Claire and all the charity’s staff and volunteers is providing a crucial service within the local community.”

Claire is continuing her role at present thanks to donations and fundraising received by Mid- Cheshire MIND.


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