Evesham and District Mental Health Support Services: Grand opening for Evesham town’s new mental health centre*

THE MAYOR of Evesham, Councillor Fred Kaler was on hand to cut the ribbon on a brand new mental health centre in the town. Evesham and District Mental Health Support Services (EDMHSS) moved from Wallace House on Oat Street to a new site on Church Street on Tuesday March 1st 2016.

As part of the ‘Grand Opening Day’ event, the Mayor was joined by the service’s Vice President, Roy Brisco, co-ordinator, Sally Padfield, Chairman of Trustees, Sue Jerrard and Chairman of Wychavon District Council, Val Wood. The service is an independent and registered charity with the aim to provide support to people who are experiencing mental health distress and issues that affect their lives. 3000 clients come through the doors each year.

EDMHSS was founded in 1973 as a drop-in for lonely people and was originally affiliated to MIND – a mental health advice and support group – and had several locations including a cabin in the grounds of Evesham Community Hospital. In 2012 the service became independent and set about fundraising and developing its services. The Welcome Club day centre is open three days a week for people to enjoy a wide variety of activities including arts and crafts, day trips and visiting speakers as well as learn life skills.

As a result of her son volunteering at the centre over the last two years, local resident Miranda Harris, a trustee of the Dominic Beer Memorial Trust encouraged Sally Padfield to apply for support with fundraising. “We are very grateful for the generous donation from the Trust, which has helped us with furniture for the new premises, including a bariatric chair, some tables for the arts and crafts activities and a fridge,” thanked Sally.

The service prides itself on being able to offer a ‘safe haven’ for people to heal and connect with their peers in a time where similar services, due to cutbacks, particularly in rural and isolated areas, are no longer available. Sally Earley, marketing, PR and fundraising assistant at EDMHSS said, “We’re so excited. This has been the culmination of many years of hard work and it’s especially poignant in light of the latest news regarding mental health spending, cutbacks and lack of support.”

“We’re incredibly proud of our history and our future. We have an amazing and dedicated team of 25 volunteers who provide support in many areas including therapies, which includes massage, emotional freedom techniques and counselling. We’re also a drop-in centre and meet with people who need a friendly face, a cup of tea and a chat, and the feedback we get from our members is testimony to the difference a safe and encouraging environment can make. We’re very positive about our future and we will continue to build on our strengths to ensure our services are continued.”

One user of the service said, “I feel a sense of belonging and acceptance at EDMHSS and it’s given me a purpose. I enjoy constructing my week around my visits to the service. It’s made me happier and more motivated. My anxiety is lower and having this place as a support network has given me confidence.”

Photograph: Evesham Mayor Fred Kaler with Roy Brisco, Honorary Chairman; Sally Padfield, centre co-ordinator; Sue Jenard, Chairman of Trustees; Margaret Bevan, member; Val Wood, Chairman of Wychavon District Council and Robert Cole, client.

*This article was edited by Miranda Harris, trustee, who was present at the event. The original article, written by Aaron Wise from the Evesham Observer, is available at https://eveshamobserver.co.uk/news/grand-opening-towns-new-mental-health-centre

The Beer-Harris Memorial Trust (formerly The Dominic Beer Memorial Trust) is a registered charity in England (1155652)