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Mental Health Café to open in Millom following visitor feedback at health and wellbeing festival

23 July 2021

A Mental Health Café will open to people in Millom in August to allow them the opportunity to meet weekly for a coffee and company.

The new initiative is led by Millom Integrated Care Community (ICC) and has been set up following visitor feedback at last month’s ‘The Choice is Yours’  health and wellbeing festival. The Mental Health Café will launch on Wednesday 4 August at Unit 3 Devonshire Road from 1.30pm-2.30pm and will run every Wednesday at the same time.

Around 600 people attended the free four-week health and wellbeing festival that was held at Haverigg Cricket Club, Millom Rugby Union Football Club, Millom Rugby League Football Club and Millom Cricket Club.

Jenny Riley, Millom ICC Development Lead, said: “Feedback from people who attended the festival showed that there was a need for a safe space for people to meet up for company and have a coffee. We approached the owners of Unit 3 and they were happy to support us opening up a Mental Health Café which is a much-needed service for the community.”

Jenny added: “Another success of the ‘Choice is Yours’ festival was the networking between exhibitors and stallholders who made community connections and contacts they didn’t know were there – this can only improve future services to the people of Millom.

“I want to say a huge thank you to all of those who came to visit us and a special thank you also goes out to the amazing Around the Combe Volunteers, without whom this event would never have been the success it was. The whole event was a collaboration of so many people and demonstrates what team working and community integration can achieve.”

The ‘Choice is Yours’ Festival boasted a wide range of activities, exhibitors and stallholders for all ages and gave visitors the chance to talk about their health and wellbeing with professionals. Partners who attended the event included:

  • Social Prescribing Barrow and Millom offering health awareness
  • Active Cumbria offering walking football/rugby for the lesser abled
  • Shackles Off Youth Project offering opportunities to young people in Millom
  • Care for Carers offering carers in Millom a place to meet with other carers
  • Age UK Veterans offering Armed Forces Veterans a place to meet with other veterans
  • Mind in Furness offering people with mental health conditions the opportunity to participate in gentle sporting activities such as soft tennis and badminton
  • Millom Network Centre offering the opportunity for apprenticeships and employment within the leisure industry
  • Prostate Cancer Group raising community health awareness
  • Elizabeth Amos promoting healthy eating options during school holiday activities, especially to those receiving free school meals.

Visitor feedback included:

  • “Well done on organising such a big event!”
  • “The running and friendly participation of all groups I encountered was fab, a most enjoyable community activity, with positive outcomes and feedback from this venture, hopefully, more of the same will happen again.”
  • “Hazel O'Malley (An Around the Combe volunteer) was an absolute star, she worked so hard to help make the event a success.”
  • “A great event, very well done to all of the organisers and thanks for having me join!”
  • “The other stall holders were very friendly and it was nice to meet new people”
  • “What we need is a permanent place for us to meet so we can chat and have coffee with others in a safe environment.”

Marion Giles, Director/Trustee of Millom Recreation Centre, said: “I really feel now that Millom is being supported and it is a great opportunity to link in with all the support groups that are now out there. The following, in particular, will be a big help in supporting Millom Recreation Centre and the health of our community.”

Richard Metcalf, Coaching Development Officer for Active Cumbria and Cumbria County Council, said: “It was great to have lots of support services and organisations concentrated in one venue over the month. This has helped the people of Millom to understand the support that is available. We now have a very strong network and I’m confident we can support everyone’s needs by working in partnership.

“By being available to talk to groups and residents we have already got a couple of ideas on how we can get the community more active. We are looking to start some ‘Walking Football’ in the coming weeks. We are also keen to get some ‘Wellbeing Walks’ established, however, to do this we need walk leaders. If you are interested please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at Richard.metcalf@cumbria.gov.uk .”

The ‘Choice is Yours’ Festival was organised by Millom ICC in partnership with Cumbria County Council, Copeland Borough Council, Active Cumbria, Around the Combe Volunteers and a patient participation group.