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Campaigners launch new mental health charity at Cromer football club

PUBLISHED: 09:28 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:28 06 March 2019

From left to right: Jenna Bedwell, Sally Whitman, Paul Free, Terry Skyrme and Chris Ainsworth, who are launching a new charity initiative in Cromer - Share as One for Mental Health. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

From left to right: Jenna Bedwell, Sally Whitman, Paul Free, Terry Skyrme and Chris Ainsworth, who are launching a new charity initiative in Cromer - Share as One for Mental Health. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

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A mental health campaign group have launched a new charity to support people in north Norfolk after a number of suicides among young men in Cromer.

It comes after the parents of 19-year-old Nyall Brown and 22-year-old Adam Brown, who both took their own lives last year, raised fears about a lack of local services and cited poor support as a factor in their sons’ deaths.

And now mental health workers Chris Ainsworth, Terry Skyrme and Paul Free have joined forces with the town’s football club to set up a charity aiming to support those struggling to feel less alone.

The charity, Share As One for Mental Health, is based at Cromer Football Club, at Cabbell Park.

Club chairwoman and charity founder Jenna Bedwell said: “We’re applying for grants from the council, National Lottery, and Norfolk Community Foundation.”

From left to right: Jenna Bedwell, Sally Whitman, Paul Free, Terry Skyrme and Chris Ainsworth, who are launching a new charity initiative in Cromer - Share as One for Mental Health. Picture: Ella WilkinsonFrom left to right: Jenna Bedwell, Sally Whitman, Paul Free, Terry Skyrme and Chris Ainsworth, who are launching a new charity initiative in Cromer - Share as One for Mental Health. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

The charity will offer a weekly drop-in, launching Tuesday, April 2, from 10am to 4pm, and be open to anyone who needs their help.

Mr Ainsworth said: “The aim of the charity is to provide facilities for people in north Norfolk who live with mental illness.

“We’re going to offer a weekly drop-in. The idea will be anybody can come along, get information about mental health, housing issues, money, debt, or benefits.

“We also want to engage with people, and provide a friendly place where they can come and meet others who suffer from mental illnesses as well.”

From left to right: Jenna Bedwell, Sally Whitman, Paul Free, Terry Skyrme and Chris Ainsworth, who are launching a new charity initiative in Cromer - Share as One for Mental Health. Picture: Ella WilkinsonFrom left to right: Jenna Bedwell, Sally Whitman, Paul Free, Terry Skyrme and Chris Ainsworth, who are launching a new charity initiative in Cromer - Share as One for Mental Health. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

“To have good mental health you need a number of things. It isn’t just clinical intervention - it’s a quality of life issue.”

Mr Free said: “It’s about being part of the community and being driven by their needs.

He added: “[The charity] is needed in Cromer because we’re not in Norwich.

“People are completely isolated.

Cabbell Park in Cromer. Picture: ELLA WILKINSONCabbell Park in Cromer. Picture: ELLA WILKINSON

“Out in the villages you’ve got no support - it’s a north Norfolk phenomenon.”

The charity’s goals include fundraising for a respite centre to offer sanctuary to the suicidal, creating a one-to-one room at the clubhouse and running support groups for people with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, chronic illnesses, diabetes, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.

They also hope to run a support group for dementia carers; singing and woodwork groups; a study centre; and community allotment.

To find out more, visit the Share As One For Mental Health Charity page on Facebook or Twitter @ShareAs1Charity.

What did the mental health trust and the CCG say?

A spokesperson for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) said: “All of our teams, from our children, families and young people’s services to our older people’s services, see service users and patients in their own homes or other local locations, such as GP practices, schools or colleges.

“In north Norfolk, staff from our adult services support hundreds of people aged 26 to 75 with severe or enduring mental health issues, all of whom have been visited by our staff in their own home.

“Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney has local bases in north Norfolk and uses community facilities, such as village halls, in the district.

“Our staff signpost service users to other local resources, such as the Men’s Sheds.”

A spokesman for NHS North Norfolk clinical commissioning group (CCG) said: “The NHS provides comprehensive mental health services to people in north Norfolk including specialist community and crisis teams and an enlarged team working with offenders and in courts of justice.

“The NHS continues to increase investment in mental health across Norfolk and Waveney.

“In addition, our emerging adult mental health strategy, produced with feedback and insight from service users, points to the need to shift more mental health provision to communities, based around local networks of GP practices, integrated with physical health and social care teams.”

Campaign event held at Cromer Pier to highlight mental health services

North Norfolk mental health campaigners are planning to hold an event at Cromer Pier to raise awareness and call for more services in the area.

The Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk have invited anyone affected to join them on the promenade from 12pm to 2pm on Wednesday, May 8.

The event, Can You See Us Now, will see the promenade filled with patients, health care providers, and friends and families of those affected by mental health issues.

Organiser Jenna Bedwell said: “The idea is to create a film to highlight the vast numbers of people affected by mental health and call for more services in our area.”

Photographs of those who cannot attend will be placed on the pier and there will be an area for letters and tributes from families who have lost loved ones, as well as a minutes silence.

The film will be released for Mental Health Awareness Week, May 13 to May 19, 2019.

For details, visit Can You See Us Now on Facebook.

READ MORE: Is ‘remote, awful and inhumane’ mental health support in north Norfolk behind a spate of young men’s deaths?

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