Mental health hub is making a positive impact in Tendring
A new charity shop is helping people struggling with depression, anxiety and mental health to turn their lives around.
The Citizens Advice Bureau Tendring charity shop, in High Street, Clacton, offers more than just bargain purchases to customers.
It provides a pathway back to a positive and happy way of life for those who may have withdrawn from family and friends due to mental health issues.
Ex-offenders or those escaping a life of domestic violence are also benefiting from the work.
A part of Tendring Mental Health Hub, the shop is just one aspect of the Mental Health Recovery Programme.
Among the steps they take is working in the charity shop, learning various retail and customer service skills, with other activities tailored to each person’s interests – from book clubs to creating allotment patches.
The year-long programme sees candidates set goals every three months before looking to their new long-term future.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) contributed £25,000 from the 2022-23 Community Safety Fund to Citizens Advice Bureau Tendring as a contribution to the continuing operation of the Tendring Mental Health Hub.
The shop, previously based in Old Road, recently moved to the centre of town to a bigger and brighter unit to attract more visitors.
Chief officer Mel Hammond said: “This is a fantastic project. I can’t stop raving about it! It is absolutely fantastic seeing people progress. It gives them masses of confidence and we are there encouraging them. They feel safe and not judged.
“Lots of people come to us having withdrawn with mental health issues. They stay indoors and don’t talk to anyone, not even family. They come to us for advice and we tell them about our programme.
“They might not talk to anyone at the start. Then, the next time we see them, they are talking to each other and chatting away to the public. We think ‘is this the same person?’. It is honestly amazing.
“Some gain the confidence to go on and find jobs, volunteering roles or to become self-employed. Others want to train to become advisors after their positive life-changing experience with us. It’s all about empowerment and making them aware of what is out there.
“It goes to show that if you are encouraged with the right tools and support and the right mentoring, you can do wonderful things. You can come out of depression and anxiety because we have the support to do it.”
People are able to refer themselves for support by visiting the shop on Tuesdays to Saturdays.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “This is an excellent project that I’m pleased to be able to support alongside the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Tendring District Council, Essex County Council and local health partners. It’s wonderful to see the benefits that it is bringing to so many people in the area.”