• Thu. May 19th, 2022

Kitchen launches mental health support group

The AN Annan charity, which has been providing vital support to people in crisis for nearly 14 years, is stepping up its efforts with a new project.

Kate’s Kitchen is making plans to launch ‘Stronger Together’ next month – a weekly support group for people struggling with mental health issues.

Due to the stress and worry many people have experienced during the pandemic, Kate’s Kitchen manager Hazel Thompson says this extra community support is needed now more than ever.

She said: ‘Our Stronger Together project was set up following an evaluation of Kate’s Kitchen services which found that 79% of users of our services indicated that they suffered from mental health issues.

“We researched and found that the best way to self-manage mental health was to have a platform to share experiences, tips and coping mechanisms.

“Although we already do it individually, the group method works better because people are more open to talking with others who are struggling with similar issues.

“We have identified a volunteer facilitator for the group and hope to start sessions on February 1. That would have been earlier, but for Covid.”

Established in 2008, Kate’s Kitchen offers a free hot meal and a variety of support to local people in crisis and in need of extra support.

The goal is to empower and empower them to take control of their lives and lead independent and more fulfilling lives.

Customers are also encouraged to volunteer with Kate’s Kitchen to gain new skills and confidence, and also have the opportunity to take accredited training courses to increase their chances of employment.

The organization has seven paid staff members and 15 volunteers, excluding its nine directors.

It is open four days a week and offers many services, including a breakfast and lunch club, an affordable food project, an arts and crafts group, volunteer and training opportunities, as well as support for benefits, housing and budget issues.

The Stronger Together project has been supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council, which received £3,750 in funding from the Annandale and Eskdale Area Committee eight weeks ago.

Hazel Thompson worked for 14 years as a manager for Alcohol and Drugs Support Southwest Scotland before joining Kate’s Kitchen in 2018.

She said: “The most rewarding part of my role is knowing that we are supporting people, like seeing people walk into homeless accommodation sometimes in tears, or with no money for food and we can support them by giving them a cup of tea, a listening ear, help in filling out forms for access to housing and allowances and food parcels.

“When they leave, they have a smile and a spring in their step.”