Gainsborough charity helps support people's mental health

A new charity which aims to support the mental health of the community is continuing to grow to ensure people in Gainsborough and the surrounding area can access the help they need.

Be The Difference was created in 2019 by Belinda Darley during a 6am RockSpin class at The Studio, Gainsborough following the unexpected suicide of a local young man.

In the weeks that followed the event it quickly became apparent that there was a dire lack of support available for anyone unable to wait for the NHS or who could not afford to pay for private therapy themselves so Be The Difference was created to help fund it.

Claire Bingham, charity co-ordinator, said: “Over the last two years we have managed to help more than 120 people and have raised and spent more than £30,000 on counselling fees.

A 'knit and natter' group is held every Wednesday
A 'knit and natter' group is held every Wednesday

"Every penny raised has been used to provide support for the people who need it the most and, particularly during the last 12 months, there have been very many cases of attempted suicide that we have been able to reach quickly and effectively.

"Thanks to the generosity of local supporters we have not yet had to turn anyone away when they needed us.

"We have a wonderful bank of therapists on whom we are able to call.

"They each have their area of speciality including psychotherapy, PTSD, children’s mental health etc and we have emergency professionals in place for the most urgent of calls.

"We also offer support to the family members concerned which is vital for the ongoing treatment of the individual."

Be The Difference are now a registered charity and are looking forward to expanding and being able to help even more members of the community by creating support and wellbeing groups.

Claire said: “Over the coming months we are looking to develop our groups and services so everyone in our town has access to the support they need.

"Collaboration and person-centred care are key for us.

"We want to provide the support people actually need to promote positive mental well-being and help reduce social isolation, which itself can have detrimental effects on a person’s mental health.

"The aim is to run a number of support and wellbeing groups, alongside our befriending service, from our venue at The Studio, on Heapham Road Industrial Estate.

“We currently have our 'knit & natter' group which runs every Wednesday at 10am. The focus for this was to use the powers of creativity, one of the five ways to wellbeing, to bring people together.

"This helps create new friendships, support networks, and learn new coping strategies which all promote positive mental well-being.

"During the summer holidays we will also be running our 'parent & child' mindful craft sessions. Promoting the importance of well-being to both parents and children, while giving them time to bond together and create mindful projects.”

Be The Difference has also just launched a new group aimed at parents who have children who suffer from additional needs such as Autism, ADHD or physical disabilities.

The charity is running the ‘Be Free To Be You’ group led by our volunteer Kat Czartowski, who is a parent of two sons who have autism as well as other health issues and disabilities.

Kat said: "I decided to start the group because there is a lack of anything suitable for most children with additional needs to do around Gainsborough.

“The group is designed to be inclusive to children with additional needs, create a safe and fun space to be themselves and play.

"It's also for parents and carers to get together in a non-judgemental environment to chat and get support.

"I hope that there will be outside companies that can come in to share information on other support agencies, how to get a carers support plan and just generally be around other parents or carers in the same position.

“The hope is to have the play sessions once a week subject to funding and hold the parents and carers sessions once a fortnight in term time too.”

Claire said: “This is something Gainsborough desperately needs, and the aim is to provide a strong support network for parents in this situation as many struggle with their own mental well-being, due to the additional life stresses they face on a daily basis.

Claire added “Going forward we will continue to grow with further support and wellbeing groups and have exciting plans for September when these will begin.

"We are keen to raise awareness in schools and workplaces and would love to hear from the public on what support they feel is needed or groups they would like to see available in the future.

"We are a local, community-based charity and rely on donations, fundraising and sponsorship.

"If you as an individual can help, we would really appreciate it and look forward to talking to you.

"We are also keen to hear from any local businesses who may be able to help with sponsorship for the projects we have planned.”

For more information follow Be The Difference on Facebook and Instagram or if anyone would like to contact the charity call 0300 102 7735, email [email protected], visit www.bethedifference.org.uk, or you can call into their office at The Studio, Sandars Road, Gainsborough, DN21 1RZ.