About St.Helens Mind

 

Meet the Team

 Gill Ellison - Chief Executive Officer

Graham Spencer - Support Worker

Sharon MacKenzie - Finance and Monitoring Officer

Sue Mather - Team Support

Peter Teasdale - Allotment Development/Wellbeing Worker

St.Helens Mind is an independent, local charity working with people living in the Borough, who are aged 18+ and who experience distress or isolation because of mental health difficulties.

We do this by providing a befriending service, social groups, and activities. The befriending service provides a trained volunteer to offer social support to someone for a couple of hours a week. This can be delivered in person on the telephone.

The social groups and activities provide a place where our members can meet in a safe, welcoming space, with support, companionship, access to new and interesting hobbies, or maybe the pursuit of an interest.

Our members can gain friendship, enjoyment, confidence, and satisfaction by joining others, and thus improve their mental well-being and even physical well-being.

You may be surprised that St. Helens Mind doesn’t just help people who are experiencing mental health difficulties. We are also here to help people to maintain their mental well-being, by tackling issues like loneliness and isolation that can lead to stress and anxiety. Some of our social groups and activities are open to all, to promote resilience and well-being for the wider community.

How it all began: St Helens Mind was founded in 1995 by Martin Griffin, our Honorary President,  Trustee Bernard Pilkington, Trustee Jeff Hext, and Paul Pennington former Trustee.

 

With lots of determination and no funds, they aimed to provide a service for people affected by mental illness. They worked with Mind UK to become affiliated and a grant of £5,000 from St Helens Council meant an office could be rented in College Street. They then started to get funding on an annual basis to provide the service.

 

This was run by the same people, who enlisted the help of more volunteers and the office was run as a Drop-In Centre. A grant from the National Lottery was obtained, a full-time staff member was appointed and the service grew into a Drop In and Information Centre.

 

As legislation and mental health services within the Borough changed, the organisation then moved to Heath Park Lodge when funding for the Befriending Service started in 2006. We worked very effectively with partner organisations within that building, also taking over the running of the social activity groups formerly provided by a Local Authority Team.

 

We developed our services there for five years, were based at the Deafness Resource Centre for a year and in May 2014 moved to Peasley Cross where we currently have our main office.

 

We moved into Harry Blackman House, Peasley Cross at the end of May 2014 which is the base of the Mental Health Recovery Team. We felt this was a positive move. Referrals to the service have increased and there is much more collaborative working which in turn gives a better service to our clients.

 

Our move to a secondary office at the Mansion House site brought with it many development opportunities.

 

We have moved some social groups there and were able to develop services as a result of this positive relocation.  We used the move as a catalyst for future developments to match the needs of existing service users and bridge gaps within the recovery of local people experiencing mental ill-health.

We have since left the Mansion House and our office at Harry Blackman House and were all home working during the pandemic. We have spent the last few months developing our Strategy, rebuilding our Board of Trustees, developing new projects, and planning for the future in uncertain times.

We left Harry Blackman House in 2020 and now have a registered office in the town centre. We are slowly opening up our services and activities as restrictions lift. This has been a slow process as we hold all our groups in public buildings and rented rooms. However, our plans are now being put into action and we look forward to the future.