On Local Charities day we're putting the spotlight on some of the regional organisations making waves in their communities. Here, Thomas Fishenden tells us about the Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind branch, and just some of the things they have got up to in 2017
Throughout 2017, MMK Mind’s low-cost counselling service has seen exceptional growth. A service which has been led by the charity’s lead counsellor (Ron), the charity works with student counsellors to help them through their qualifications whilst offering people within the community affordable, accessible counselling services. This initiative has meant that approximately 70 clients were able to access counselling services at MMK Mind every week.
The service has quickly grown in both scale and scope – providing services for a wide variety of clients, and offering crucial counselling support within the local community. It’s been a real opportunity to offer services which are needed by our community – seeing some impressive results and really becoming an affordable and accessible option for people in need.
When speaking to our lead counsellor, Ron, we asked him how he felt about the success of the low-cost counselling course. “I'm incredibly proud to be able to help people who really need help but couldn’t afford it at conventional prices,” says Ron. "I'm so happy that the charity has been able to help people swiftly, and without the long waiting time often associated with counselling.”. Sounds like you are doing great work at MMK Mind, Ron!
MMK Mind also had an incredibly successful annual general meeting (AGM) this year – with a lot of positive information shared with their local community. Although their long-time chairman, Tim Arnold, stepped down, he still had a lot of praise to give when it came to the development of new and innovative services that MMK Mind were delivering – something which the charity was delighted to hear as they have been putting a lot of effort into developing their services.
The AGM was a pivotal point for the charity, and was a chance to share a lot of personal stories and experiences from people whom the charity had impacted positively. The AGM also featured Jon’s story – a case study on how services delivered by MMK Mind helped Jon to turn his life around and ‘Cross the line from being a mental health service user to helping others. It’s an incredibly powerful story, and you can find it here.
“I’m crossing that line between being a ‘mental health service user’ to helping others. And I love that.” Says Jon. You can read Jon's full story on the MMK Mind website.
This year MMK enjoyed the huge success of their fun run. The Charity said that “It is thanks to our community that the event itself was such a success on the day – with 64 runners in total - a steady increase on numbers from last year’s event.”
“Without the support of our community, events like our fun run could not go ahead – so we owe it all to the people who made it so great!”
Looking forward, MMK Mind have a lot of exciting things on the horizon. They currently have an extension being developed for their Maidstone centre – something which will introduce three new counselling rooms and a brand-new training space within the building. This will increase the number of people that they are able to support, and the variety of training they can deliver on-site in Maidstone.
They are also currently working on a large county-wide program with Headstart Kent, delivering mental health first aid support across the county. Lastly, they are also excited to be working closely with North Kent Mind to deliver more services which will allow them to both maintain and develop good quality mental health services across the area.
If you’d like to support MMK Mind, they have just been shortlisted in the KM Charity of the Year awards, and you can vote for them here.