News - Supporting people with their mental health

Mental Health Alliance, News, Volunteering

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Volunteers at Café 71 play a key role with helping people access the mental health support they need to get themselves back on track.

Based in Chester, Café 71 is part of the Spider Project and offers a safe, non-clinical, community space for anyone struggling to cope in a crisis.

The project is open from 10am to 10pm, 365 days per year and run by professionals and volunteers, offering:

  • listening, care and support
  • help to work through challenges
  • help to access other support and advice
  • creative recovery through social and educational activities.

Lauren, Volunteer Manager at Café 71, said: “Some people might not have spoken to anyone for a few days so you could be the first person they’ve spoken to that day.

“You could change their day, you could maybe change their life, help them find a new passion and get back into something because their mental health has prevented them from doing that.

“I think it’s rare that we can do that in life where you can tangibly know the difference you could have on someone’s life.

“The vibe is always lovely, but I think some people are intimidated by volunteering in mental health.

“The staff do all the crisis work so it isn’t that heavy and we mostly just want volunteers who love chatting to people and finding their assets.

“If you can see that in other people and help them to develop, that’s what we’re all here to do.”

Adam, one of the volunteers at the café, added: “Whenever I speak to friends or anyone else, I don’t think there’s ever a conversation where I don’t speak about this place.

“It’s had a massive say in my life and I honestly wish, as it’s been here for years, that I’d known about it sooner.

“It’s helped me decide what I want to do in life.”

Jack, another volunteer involved with the projected, commented: “The bunch of members I have at the moment really gel.

“I feel better for it and my mental health and wellbeing has benefitted from being able to facilitate people to sit around a table and discuss openly, whereas maybe before they felt awkward about talking to what is a stranger.”

Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA) is running a volunteering campaign, encouraging more people to take up volunteering across west Cheshire.

The theme for January to March was mental health, highlighting the range of roles available in this area and the difference you can make.

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