A DROP-in centre for people with mental health difficulties has received charity funding and increased its membership by 200 per cent.

Survivors Worcester, which has been running for 13 years, is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 2pm at the St Swithuns Institute in The Trinity, Worcester.

The peer support club has around 25 people attend each session and has links to the Maggs Day Centre for homeless people.

Chairman of Survivors Worcester, Kerry Aingel, said: “We are a friendly independent group who offer a safe environment where you can drop in to chat, relax and join in with activities. We have a member led ethos at the club. It is all about social interaction and confidence building.”

Mrs Aingel began volunteering in 2017 with a goal to increase club membership. This has been achieved with a 200 per cent membership rise and 50 people on the books.

The menu has been revamped providing affordable nutritional food, there has been an increase on activities such as guest speakers, more day trips have been organised, and the club has provided more facilities on site such as board games and a new pool table.

The Gannett Foundation, which is charity funding from Newsquest Media Group, the owner of the Worcester News and its sister titles, donated £2,000 to Survivors Worcester. The club has spent their funding on art materials, IT equipment and has invested in a pool table, which has proven to be popular amongst the members.

The club treasures its art therapy sessions which run on Tuesdays, with art therapist Claire Hilton.

Mrs Aingel added: “The art therapy group is a good way to integrate new members and to enable individuals to learn new skills and express themselves. It is totally invaluable."

Syed Alam, aged 48, who has been going to the club for six months, said: “The club caters for people with mental health difficulties. Everyone is so nice here, and I come to regular sessions. The price of the food is reasonable too.”

Rob Allan, aged 49, a regular member at Survivors of five years, said: “You come through the door and there is no judgement. It has that community feel here and everyone is very friendly. We all have the same ethos – it’s about having a cup of tea in a relaxing atmosphere.

"Kerry does a lot for us, she is very committed and has turned this place around.”

The charity receives food from Worcester Transition Food Rescue, which is an organisation that delivers surplus food to charities which has been donated by supermarkets.

Last year, the members took trips to The Black Country Living Museum, Witley Court, Weston Super-Mare and Ludlow Castle. The trips all have an educational focus, whether it be art or history based.

Survivors is looking for volunteers on a Tuesday or Thursday. To find out more, contact Kerry on survivorsworcester@talktalk.net


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