Scarborough support group at risk of closure

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A support group for people with mental health problems in Scarborough is appealing for more volunteers to help save it from closure.

The volunteer-led group is run by mental health charity Scarborough Whitby and Ryedale Mind (SWR Mind) and is held weekly on Fridays afternoons at the Rainbow Centre in Castle Road.

The group has been established for 10 years has around 20 members aged 18 and over from across Scarborough.

Unfortunately, volunteer numbers at the group have fallen and the charity is in need of more people to help keep the sessions running from noon to 3pm each week.

Mark Jackson, 44, from Scarborough has been attending the group for three years and has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia said the group is a valuable source of information and support.

He said: “I enjoy the social side, the stories that we share sometimes and it reduces my feeling of isolation. If the group were to close I would feel that there would be no reason for me to get up on a Friday.”

Harvey Cantor, 76, from Scarborough has also been attending the group for three years and was feeling very depressed and was struggling to cope following the death of his wife.

He said: “Coming to the group has helped me to be more connected with other people and brings me out of myself, the people are nice and there is a good atmosphere.

“The volunteers are good at listening to me when I need to talk. If the group were to close I would be sad and wouldn’t know what to do. The group allows me to be myself without feeling pressured.”

Natalie Miles, volunteer co-ordinator at Scarborough Whitby and Ryedale Mind said: “Without a solid base of volunteers the group will have to close which will be a huge loss to those who use it.

“The group is a safe place where people can go and talk about anything, not just their mental health, although it is a safe place for doing that.

“There are now three regular volunteers every week and a fourth who supports fortnightly at the group. This is leaving the group vulnerable in terms of being able to operate, especially with the holiday season upon us.”

A spokesman for the charity said: "SWR Mind would like to thank volunteer group facilitator Richard who is moving on to a new role and is very thankful for all the hard work and commitment he has given to the group for the past few years.

"If you are available every Friday afternoon or just one Friday afternoon a month SWR Mind would love to hear from you.

"The charity would like to hear from people who can help take the group forward and experience working with a group is an advantage but not essential.

"Volunteers able to do art, run games or drama would be welcomed but most important is that they are empathetic and having an understanding of people who are struggling with their mental health.

"SWR Mind will provide full training including a DBS check which is necessary for this voluntary position.

"Anyone interested in volunteering to help at the mental health support group at the Rainbow Centre is asked to call Natalie Miles for an application pack on (01723) 356562 or email her at info@swrmind.org.uk

"Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind is a registered charity providing support to adults with mental health problems in Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale since 1962.

"SWR Mind can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SWRMind1, follow them on Twitter @swrmind1 or log onto their website www.swrmind.org.uk."

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