PFCC supports Happy Hub
A whole community is being invited to discover a hub of happiness to take care of their mental health.
Motivated Minds, a lifelong wellbeing provider, set up the Happy Hub three years ago to provide a space for people to go to for support.
Due to its success – with 1,000 visitors per month – the organisation has been offered a three-year lease on a large premises in the Eastgate Centre, Basildon, to expand its work.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) contributes £20,000 per year to the Happy Hub from the Community Safety Fund, which will continue for three years.
Since getting the keys last summer, money has been invested in decorating, buying sports equipment for the Get Active programme and creating a community café.
The hub is split into five areas of wellbeing, including get active, connect with others, learn new skills, give to others and take notice of the present moment.
Carla Andrews, managing director and wellness consultant, is keen for the whole community to utilise the facility.
She said: “It’s an amazing space; so bright and cheerful. The funding secures our business and with a secure business, we can get wages for staff and funding for programmes. It provides a foundation which we can build on.
“We support mental health and wellbeing and are open to everyone. It could be someone really struggling with depression or those who need to get out of the house; we offer them a safe space. It could be someone with no friends who wants to connect and make friends; we have events and activities running throughout the day. We run social nights, community dinners, therapeutic sessions around emotional regulation, as well as coaching, counselling, mentoring and befriending.”
One success story is a woman who turned to the Happy Hub as she was struggling with her mental health which was impacting her confidence and ability to be assertive – describing herself as “wanting to blend in with the walls”.
Since attending the hub, she has achieved an A-level, learnt to drive, completed a sky dive to raise money and made new friends.
She is now a volunteer for the hub, running therapeutic sessions.
While it has been a year of growth for the hub, the pandemic struck just as the new premises came on board.
Carla said: “We have had to adapt due to Covid-19 and have put a lot more information online and invested time into sharing content on our Facebook group every day – including challenges and self-help advice. We have also set up a foodbank for those who need support in that way during the pandemic.
“We are keen to see our footfall pick back up after the impact of the crisis. This is for everyone. We often hear people say they do not have mental health – we all have mental health and if we do not look after it, we will have issues in future. The strongest minds in the world still need to reflect on what they have done and improve for the next week.
“We would like to see the whole community using this space – pop in for a cup of tea or coffee or buy snacks from our café. We need to make this a sustainable project for the future.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Having a space like this in the heart of the community is so important. Carla and her volunteers are really making a difference to people’s lives, especially right now when mental health and helping people to build their resilience is really at the forefront of all our minds. It’s an uplifting project and one we are proud to support.”