Communities needing mental health support find 'safe place' in Skegness

Members of the community needing mental health support have found a safe place to get help in Skegness.

Jonathan Marshall, intern at the Storehouse, with David Bruce, Storehouse assistant manager and Community Outreach Manager at New Life Centre in Spilsby.
Jonathan Marshall, intern at the Storehouse, with David Bruce, Storehouse assistant manager and Community Outreach Manager at New Life Centre in Spilsby.

Two new schemes have been launched at the Storehouse - running addition to their successful Brotherhood Project UK ,which now supports about 67 men from the area.

This is Mental Health Awareness Week and the Mental Health Foundation is promoting the theme 'Nature and the Environment' to inspire a public conversation similar to that stimulated by the theme of 'Kindness' ” in May last year.

The Storehouse in North Parade is sharing empathy with this by opening its doors to anyone who might be feeling lonely or anxious.

On standby to help are trained volunteers as well as health professionals - but the focus is providing a welcoming environment where people can confidently unload.

"Since the first lockdown last year the number of people contacting us with mental health issued has rocketed," said David Bruce, assistant manager at the Baptist Church-run Storehouse and Community Outreach Manager at New Life Centre in Spilsby.

"Throughout lockdown we have supported them by texting, phoning or meeting them for walks.

"At one point I was walking nearly 50 miles a week just to show people they do not have to feel alone.

"We wanted to create a safe place for anyone needing mental health support and Restore Wellness was launched in April, running in Spilsby as well as Skegness."

Restore Wellness sessions are being held with support from the Lincolnshire Mental Health Promotions Fund. They are run on Mondays at the Storehouse in Skegness and Wednesdays at the New Life Centre in Spilsby, from 12noon to 3pm.

Brotherhood Project UK is self-funded and runs on alternate Thursdays and Fridays from 7pm to 9pm.

Anyone feeling anxious also is welcome to drop in at any time during the week to chat informally over coffee.

The Storehouse is also a partner with the Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service Social Prescribing Scheme.

"The NHS is very aware of the rise in people with mental health issues and provide a clinical service run through GPS," said Bruce.

"But sometimes what people really need is a befriending service - they could be lonely and just need someone to talk to so they know they are not alone."

The Storehouse has created a community WhatsApp network of GPs, mental health professionals and youth workers to support their projects.

"We have some excellent trained volunteers and professional who can guide them to the help they need and have had some great success stories," said Bruce.

One success story is former Skegness Academy student Jonathan Marshall, who came to the Storehouse during a period when he became lost after leaving school three years ago.

Jonathaon, 19, now has an internship at the Storehouse and is starting on the Government Kickstart programme - focusing on the Mental Health projects and ultimately overseeing activities in the facility's conference centre.

"Coming here has changed my life and I am excited to be involved with the mental health programme," said Jonathon.

Having a diverse range of people on the project is important and often they can relate to people's concerns, explained Bruce.

"Our clients are both men and women and of a wide range of ages, mainly 19 to 60," he said.

"We have especially seen successes within our Brotherhood group, where after time and meeting for a chat or a game of pool are able to open up and express their feelings.

"More than ever it's important that people can talk about it and not feel alone."