Charity says thanks for support at difficult time

A Morpeth-based charity has thanked businesses, organisations and residents for their vital donations to help it through a difficult period.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 10:40 am
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 10:41 am
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

Contact Mental Health, which has been running in the town centre for more than 30 years, has recently found it tough to attract funding.

It provides a range of service for vulnerable people with mental health issues and operates a drop-in centre.

Chairman Rhona Dunn said the response from the community has been ‘amazing’ after word got around Morpeth that the charity was struggling.

She added: “Over the last few weeks we have received well over £13,000, which is fantastic and is helping us to survive until we get some more funding in.

“People have been donating and fund-raising for us from other areas, as well as Morpeth, and we are so grateful that we felt that we should say a public thank you to all those who donated in any way, large or small.

“Many of our members live alone and Contact is like a home to them, and so if they do not come to Contact they will not see anyone else for days, so it is imperative that we look after these vulnerable people.

“We’ve received help from St George’s URC Church, Morpeth, Barbara Ross, Morpeth Rotary Club and Lions Club, Barratt Homes, De Ogle Lodge of Craft Masons, Hays Travel, St George’s Church lunchtime concerts, Marks & Spencer bucket collection, Morrisons bucket collection, Sean Armstrong Fitness, North Shields, Order of Eastern Star, Blyth, Morpeth Town WI and several anonymous donations.

“We love what we do and if anyone would like to drop in and visit to see what we do at our premises in Oldgate, please feel free to do so.

“Or perhaps you would like to volunteer to help out in some way. I am always looking for people to run new activities and one particular subject I would like to tackle is budgeting skills and numeracy and literacy to help our people cope better with today’s world.”

Contact has a membership of 130 and there are 24 volunteers.

The centre runs from Tuesday to Friday and during that time members are encouraged to partake in some of the activities that are provided, including photography, IT, crafts, mindfulness, Talking Voices and some evening events as well.

Volunteers provide lunches, teas and coffee.

Mrs Dunn said: “Through the Big Lottery Fund, we have a caravan at Haggerston Castle and for some of our members, that is the only holiday they will get.

“We also spend a lot of time helping members out with benefit problems and I am very grateful to the Hollon Trust for the support it gives us on this, which helps members to keep going until benefits get sorted out as it can take several weeks.”

Contact was initially set-up by Gena Fleming as a small support group as she was concerned that there was so little help for the families of mental health sufferers at the time.