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Spalding mental health Womble plans afoot

Combining activities to help mental health issues while cleaning up the area in which we live is a focus for a new project.

Spalding based Vanessa Browning of Community Mind Matters has joined forces with Mark Le Sage, of The Rightside Trust, to create a Mental Health Womble.

The idea is to combine 'going for a womble' - a term which has become popular in the area since litter picking group The Wombles of Spalding Common was created - with helping people who are struggling with mental health issues.

Mark Le Sage and Vanessa Browning on the Mental Health Matters bench in Ayscoughfee Gardens. (45463063)
Mark Le Sage and Vanessa Browning on the Mental Health Matters bench in Ayscoughfee Gardens. (45463063)

Vanessa, who set up Community Mind Matters to help residents with depression and anxiety, said: "We have the mental health bench in Ayscoughfee Gardens and we've definitely seen a rise in people struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic.

"A lot of people live on their own and have missed speaking to and seeing other people.

"With this idea, people will be able to come along and it will get them active and give them a purpose. Picking up litter will be a a good way to distract them while also meaning something to them."

It is hoped that once lockdown restrictions have been lifted, groups will be able to meet for the sessions once a fortnight.

Vanessa said: "We don't want to break any rules but when we are able to meet I think it will really help to get people with depression and anxiety out and about.

"They might not want to talk about mental health - and there is no pressure for them to do that - but they will have something to look forward to and it's also a way to make new friends.

"If anyone does want to speak about their mental health we can then move forward and the good thing is that we will be able to signpost and guide them.

We know that talking works as we have seen it with the bench - speaking about mental health gives you a sense of freedom."

Mark, who also works as a nurse at The Deepings Practice, added: "We are both big advocates of getting out there to help your mental health.

"As a Womble myself I thought 'why not Womble while you walk?'

"Simon Law of the Wombles of Spalding Common has already offered to help us with litter pickers and equipment which we are very grateful to him for.

"We just really want to help where we can."

To register your interest in sessions, contact Vanessa by calling 07376157004 or emailing info@communitymindmatters.co.uk

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