Buxton charity moves to bigger premises and sees demand for mental health help soar

A Buxton charity says the demand for mental health help has soared in recent months and moving into a bigger premises could not have come at a better time.

Friday, 15th July 2022, 4:27 pm

The Grapevine Wellbeing Centre has officially opened its new and bigger space next to Sainsbury’s in Higher Buxton – across the road from where it used to be.

Ana Mankiewicz, project coordinator for the charity, said: “Demand for our services is higher than ever and the old space just wasn’t meeting our needs any more.

“It’s really exciting to have moved as it means we can help more people.”

Project support worker Sarah McSwerry

The Grapevine Wellbeing Centre is a recognised safe space for anyone struggling with their wellbeing or who has any mental health condition.

The charity picked up the keys to the new premises back in January and Ana said it was like moving from a bedsit to a three bedroomed house.

"We have so much space now but then we spent the last six months filling it with furniture and making it a home.

“Now we are settled, we had an official opening day at the start of the month and had more than 50 members of the public come in and learn more about what we do. And as times change so do people’s needs and we are now expanding our services.”

Inside the new Grapevine Centre

​She said: “Previously we used to deal with people who had long term mental health issues but the state of the country, and the world, means we are helping people who previously may not have ever suffered from anxiety, or stress but we are here for everyone.

“Think about what we have gone through in the last couple of years. A global pandemic, we are on the brink of another war in Europe and people can’t afford to eat anymore.

“Of course this is going to have an impact on anyone’s mental health and wellbeing."

The charity has opened its doors to many more people in recent months and Ana says 70 per cent of the time at the new venue the group has exceeded the capacity of their former home.

She said: “We are doing lots more things to reach out to people who may be struggling in the short term. We received a grant from High Peak CVS to put on monthly walks with a Peak District National Park Ranger which have proved really popular.

"People need time to switch off and stop and being in nature does boost your mental wellbeing."

The Grapevine is looking at setting up evening and weekend treat events to allow people who work or care full time a chance to press the reset button.

The group provides drop ins and also planned activities and the upcoming ones include yoga and afternoon tea or a craft and some cake.

There are also singing sessions, creative writing groups, and mindfullness classes too as the Grapevine wants to cater for all tastes and be a welcoming place for everyone.

Ana said: "Self care is not wrong, taking time out of a busy world is not wrong.

"If we can provide opportunities for people to be able to feel more refreshed and tackle what life throws at them then they can go on and continue to do their jobs, care for their families and be part of the community.

"There is a reason passengers on a plane are told to put their oxygen mask on before helping others.

"It's because no one can pour from an empty cup so we are just providing moments to allow people to be refilled again.”

Ana says more people are aware of mental health problems but says there is still a long way to go yet.

“Ten years ago, even five years ago people would not have spoken so openly about mental health and there's still a taboo on the subject that we want to get rid of.

“I think we are moving in the right direction and we want to mental health to be seen and treated the same as physical health.

"Everyone has good days and bad days but sometimes we just need a little extra help during the bad days to know we are not alone.”

Going forward there are plans for more nature based activities and also to create a sensory garden between the Grapevine’s new home and Sainsburys.

Ana said: “It’s about creating calm in the chaos and allowing people the time to stop and take a moment.

"My greatest hope is that people will realise that they can’t do everything and it’s ok to ask for help. No negatives will ever come from someone saying ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I need a break’.”

The Grapevine Wellbeing Centre runs a wide, varied programme. To stay up to date with what’s on, find them on Facebook or pop in their new premises.

The centre is open Monday - Thursday; midday - 1.30pm and then 2pm - 3.30pm and on Fridays between 2 and 3.30pm.

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