Mind in Croydon will continue to provide free activities to people with mental health issues thanks to a £271,000 grant from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.
Sessions offered by Mind in Croydon as part of their Active Minds scheme include tennis, boxercise, walks, badminton, Zumba (a kind of dance, apparently), martial arts and yoga, as well as mindfulness and relaxation classes, and even an allotment group.
The scheme has helped hundreds of Croydon residents over the past 15 years but the charity says it could not have continued without the new funding.
Jo Darville, one of the Active Minds managers in Croydon, said, “These sessions are massively important for our members, not least because for many they provide the motivation, support and confidence boost for them to get out of the house and overcome their anxiety, which is a huge step.
“A lot of our members and their families have noticed a big difference – they feel a lot more confident than they did before and are able to come out of their shell and talk to people and make friends.
“Active Minds has been running for 15 years. Last year, it supported more than 370 people. But without the City Bridge Trust funding, it could not have continued.
“It’s been absolutely lifesaving for many of our members and if that was taken away, I think we would have ended up with people in A&E – or worse.”
One of the people who say that they have been helped by the Active Minds activities is Steve Jobson, from Thornton Heath, who has been attending the classes for just over a year. Jobson has been practising the Chinese martial art of tai chi, and spending time growing fresh, nutritious fruit and veg on the allotment.
“There’s always someone there when things are getting on top of you,” he said.
“It’s a lifesaving service when you’re feeling down and you don’t want to be here. I’ve had amazing help from amazing people. I started with cycling and each group helps in a different way. Since tai chi, I find it easier to stay calm,” he said.
“The allotment is a haven from the things going on outside the gates and getting up there every day is like getting the golden ticket for peace and quiet. The martial arts is the best place in the world to get things out of my system, and I leave feeling so much better.”
Giles Shilson is the chairman of City Bridge Trust. “The activities run by Mind in Croydon have huge benefits for their members, not just from the natural high that comes from doing exercise, but from meeting people and feeling less isolated,” he said.
“We’re really pleased that with our support these sessions can continue to have a profound impact in helping people overcome the issues they face and improve their lives.”
People can get more information and support for their mental health or donate to Mind in Croydon online at www.mindincroydon.org.uk.
City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver. It awards grants of more than £30million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.
It has also made an extra £200million available over five years from 2021 to 2026 to support London’s charity sector.
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