Dewsbury's Well-Bean cafe offering support to people feeling isolated or struggling in the pandemic

People struggling with their mental health or feelings of isolation during the pandemic can access help in a relaxed and friendly way.

By Martin Shaw
Saturday, 12th December 2020, 12:00 pm

The Well-bean Cafe is a first point of contact for people who need someone to talk to.

The cafe - more an ad hoc social meeting space - have bases in Dewsbury and Huddersfield.

Both centres - in Union Street, Dewsbury, and New Street, Huddersfield - were closed at the start of lockdown and haven’t yet re-opened.

Jo Butler and Cheryl Cooper are just a phone call away

However, the service remains available via telephone or video calls with staff working remotely seven days a week between 6pm and midnight.

Many people have reported growing feelings of anxiety and stress since restrictions were imposed due to fears over the Covid-19 pandemic.

And Jo Ryan, team leader at the Well-bean Cafe, urged people to reach out if they needed help.

“It’s not just about mental health, it’s also about social isolation and many people are struggling right now,” said Jo.

“People are often described as having a mental health crisis and while they are struggling a bit they may not describe what they are experiencing as a crisis.

“We want to let people know that we are here. If you are struggling with your mental health give us a bell.

“Social isolation has been a big issue in lockdown and that is linked to a deterioration in people’s mental health.

“We offer a friendly voice to chat to and we are here to help and talk things through in a safe, confidential and non-judgmental way.”

The service, set up in February 2019, is run by Touchstone and the Basement Recovery Project, a Huddersfield social enterprise.

It is funded by the North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield clinical commissioning groups.

In ‘normal’ times it provides face-to-face one-to-ones and also group socials where people have a coffee and a chat and maybe play games.

Lockdown sent the service into remote operation with four staff working every night.

Anyone can ring in and they will speak to a member of staff before being offered a one-to-one chat.

“The hardest thing is often that first call,” said Jo. “But we want people to know we are friendly and approachable. We are different from the statutory services and it’s a lot more relaxed.

However, we can refer people to the statutory services if they need more support.”

Jo said the service had seen fewer referrals since lockdown but the service was still relatively new and people may not know about the help available.

The service is available to adults aged 18 and over.

On Friday to Monday ring 07741 900395 or on Tuesday to Thursday 07867 028755.

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