INTERVIEW: Buxton charity puts Julie at the centre of its work

Julie Dadson, Manager of the Grapevine Centre, Buxton.
Julie Dadson, Manager of the Grapevine Centre, Buxton.

Buxton’s mental health charity the Grapevine Wellbeing Centre has a new manager – who says its members are also its greatest assets.

Experienced charity worker Julie Dadson has been given the part-time job of managing the drop-in centre on Buxton Market Place for the next six months while the Grapevine explores new sources of funding for the post.

Julie has worked in the charity sector for the last 15 years, recently managing an organization with 30 staff which helped 60 adults with learning difficulties.

The 58-year-old mother of two and grandmother of four said the much smaller Grapevine would be different in many ways, but the aim was the same: to help others.

And her best allies in that were the Grapevine members themselves.

“The clients are so wonderful and the need is absolutely crucial,” said Julie, who lives in the High Peak.

“A member who is very low in self-esteem sometimes to the point of having suicidal thoughts, could be sitting at home just concentrating on his own problems. Here, he can not only be supported but also support others, therefore raising his own self esteem.”

The Grapevine runs eight special self-help groups ranging from creative writing and music to computing and women’s advice, but the drop-in service was vital to those in Buxton experiencing mental health issues.

“There’s an awful lot of peer help for every sort of problem – people with learning difficulties, personality disorders or even schizophrenia,” said Julie.

“But they all accept each other in a non-judgmental way. They are the ones who will keep quiet while other people speak, and have time for each other. I’ve heard people being helped with what to do about benefits, what to do about housing, where they can find help with this or that.”

She added: “They are in a safe place. They couldn’t go to any other café without attracting attention, and that’s usually negative attention. It’s a home from home.”

Julie, whose husband Michael is a Unitarian Minister in Macclesfield, was welcomed at the Grapevine’s annual general meeting.


A voluntary organisation and registered charity, The Grapevine Wellbeing Centre is open to all individuals who require support and help with their wellbeing and mental health considerations.
It is a resource centre hosting and providing access to a wide range of helpful services, activities and support.

Volunteers are on hand to listen in a non-judgemental person-centred way and help out where they can.

They can also refer people in the right direction and guide them to the most suitable alternative services.

The Grapevine Wellbeing Centre is located at 15 Scarsdale Place, Buxton, and is open every weekday and Saturday between 12.30pm and 3.30pm for people to drop in for a drink and a chat.

A number of self help groups and sessions are also hosted by the centre.

Chair and founder member Christine Russell said there were now eight trustees and 132 members.