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A focus on charities supporting mental health needs in Kent

Ahead of World Mental Health Day, Saturday 10th October, Kent Community Foundation is highlighting some of the charities and groups who are working with their local community to help those with mental health needs.

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said:

“Mental health issues affect one in four people at some point in their lifetime, with more recent estimates suggesting the figure could be as high as two out of three. Ahead of World Mental Health Day, Kent Community Foundation is highlighting some of the organisations it funds, who are working within the community to support mental health needs across Kent and Medway.”

Mid-Kent Mind offers a range of long-term solutions and services to anyone with a mental health problem or those in need of support in developing coping strategies to maintain good health and wellbeing. They provide informal, discreet, and accessible support for people suffering from mental and emotional distress and provide services that improve mental, physical and economic wellbeing. They work with people to assist them in coping with life and focusing on dealing positively with mental health issues.

Mid-Kent Mind has received a total of £72,000 from Kent Community Foundation since their first application in 2015 and most recently in September, received a grant of £15,000 to enable them to meet the increased demand of their services. For more information, please visit: www.maidstonemind.org

No Walls Gardens is a not for profit organisation based in Northfleet North. They specialise in providing their clients with a greater connection to the community through work experience and skills training by carrying out community gardening and food growing projects across the local area. Working predominately with unemployed, ex-offenders and vulnerable adults with learning and physical disabilities and mental health issues they have created five community places where residents can access free fruit and vegetables and three community spaces – The Secret Garden (fruit and veg growing, clay oven), The Shed (woodwork, arts and crafts space, office) and Enchanted Garden (green space, raised stage and fire-pit).

During the pandemic, No Walls Gardens has been working with other local organisations to ensure fresh fruit and vegetable boxes are accessible for the most vulnerable and Kent Community Foundation awarded them £8,700 to support this project. For more information, please visit: www.nowallsgardens.org

Based near Maidstone The Blackthorn Trust is a supportive therapeutic environment in which people can recover, grow and develop. Their work is based on the belief that more than medication is required to affect positive change in people: namely community, meaningful work, therapeutic and peer support, and daily routine.

Founded over 30 years ago they offer specialist therapies including metal colour light, rhythmical massage and Eurythmy Therapy, and their facilities include a large biodynamic garden, a vegetarian café and kitchen, craft studios and therapy rooms. Set against the beautiful backdrop of their garden – which is also used therapeutically, the workshops (cooking and baking, garden and herb, stained glass, woodwork and art) provide the opportunity to spend time in a physical environment that stimulates the senses, creates a connection with nature, and encourages the development of creative abilities that may have been dormant or previously undiscovered.

Kent Community Foundation has been supporting The Blackthorn Trust for eight years and has awarded them grants totalling over £130,000. For more information, please visit: www.blackthorn.org.uk

Take-Off works for better physical and mental health, offering talking therapies through a wide range of self-help groups (which during the pandemic have moved online), where they can explore the issues and find better coping techniques. Based in Canterbury, all the team from the cleaner to the trustees have experienced mental health issues. They support over 4200 people in the East Kent community each year providing ready-made social networks and peer support services. Take Off works in Thanet, Canterbury, Ashford, Herne Bay, Dover, Deal, Folkestone, and the surrounding areas.

During the pandemic, Kent Community Foundation has awarded Take Off £16,000 from their emergency funds to support the additional demands for mental health services. For more information, please visit: www.takeoff.works

The D’Vine Singers are a friendly, informal group who meet to sing for fun and wellbeing.  They take their name from the Vine Baptist Church in Sevenoaks, where they meet on Fridays during term time.  The group began life as part of a funded research study into singing and mental wellbeing but when the project came to an end, everyone agreed that the value of singing was huge and The D’Vine Singers carried on as an independent group. The members of the singing group have varying levels of mental health issues and the group receives new members through referrals from West Kent Mind. Since 2018 they have received funding totalling £10,600 from Kent Community Foundation. For more information, please visit: www.dvinesingers.org

Holding on Letting Go is a very special organisation conceived by a group of counsellors, social workers and other professionals working in the area of palliative care, which helps children to cope with the death of someone close to them. Often the children have lost their mum, dad, grandparents, a sibling or a friend. Sometimes more than one person in their family has died or there are sudden and traumatic circumstances surrounding the death, such as suicide, a road accident or murder. Since the adults around them are also grieving, these children often feel unable to express their feelings or talk about their loved one or their sadness.

Trained volunteers help the children to talk about their loss and their feelings. The Charity uses a variety of activities to help the children express their emotions such as an ‘anger wall’; designed to help get their anger out, making memory boxes filled with objects that remind them of their special person and music therapy; which can especially benefit those children who struggle to verbalise their feelings. For more information, please visit: www.holdingonlettinggo.org.uk

To find out more about how Kent Community Foundation supports good causes across the county, please visit: www.kentcf.org.uk

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