An appeal for help to convert a former Ramsgate shop into a desperately needed crisis café has been launched by East Kent Mind.
The organisation, set up by and affiliated to Mind in Bexley and National MIND, is providing mental health services throughout East Kent.
The group has already established ‘Cafe Revival’ in Whitstable providing a safe and inclusive space and now, after a three year process, East Kent Mind has finally been given the go ahead for the Ramsgate site.
With the support of Mind in Bexley, Porchlight and the CCG,the group has been commissioned to deliver mental health training and the mental health crisis cafe in Ramsgate.
The café will be based at 34 King Street, with the lease already signed, and will be transformed into therapy and training rooms and an inclusive Revival café space.
Campaign for mental health provision
The service is one of a package of measures being set up in Thanet particularly in response to an outcry over problems accessing mental health help.
The crisis café will help those living with mental ill health and comes due to a successful £4million bid by the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP). .
The Isle of Thanet News revealed the successful bid which was announced during a mental health summit at the Winter Gardens last year.
Calls for the crisis café were made by Thanet mental health support group Speak UpCIC and publicised by The Isle of Thanet News in November 2018.
Last year the call was renewed following the tragic deaths of three young Thanet men who had been unable to access mental health services.
Family and friends of Ben Stone, and his brother Lee Thrumble, Marc Wood and Paul Connell, organised the highly successful Football United fundraiser and were among those at a meeting in Ramsgate last July organised by councillor Karen Constantine in response to the tragedies.
David Palmer, CEO East Kent Mind, said: “The crisis café will offer support for residents in Thanet. The proposal is to open three nights a week and then review the impact and take it from there.
“We have the premises in King Street but it needs quite a lot of work to get it up and running and make it a safe and comfortable space.
“We have started crowdfunding and hope to be open by the end of March or beginning of April.”
East Kent Mind is hoping to raise £20,000 towards funding the heating system, electrics, flooring, partitioning areas to create confidential therapy spaces, Velux windows for lighting, air conditioning, signage and redecoration throughout.
The appeal says: “We know how important the crisis cafe will be to local residents, there have been harrowing accounts of lives lost, struggles to access mental health services, and family members are at tipping point as they try to help their loved ones and are finding huge gaps in care provision.
“The priority is to provide a safe, bright, welcoming and warm space for our mental health services and we are therefore asking for help. Every contribution will be greatly appreciated, should we exceed our target, money will go towards similar remedial work on the building, to help us to establish the Revival cafe and develop services that the café can also deliver.”
The café will have three staff for each shift, including a senior wellbeing worker.
Mr Palmer said: “It will provide the opportunity for people to talk to each other in a safe, non-judgemental space, People can be signposted to relevant services, for example relationship help, financial management, homelessness issues, tenancy issues. It will offer an alternative to people having to go and wait for several hours in A&E for help.
“This is a really good opportunity to provide a much needed resource.”