Charity opens its doors at new location

A charity which helps those recovering from mental illness has moved into new headquarters in Southwick.

Shoreham and District Mental Health Association had outgrown its premises at the Old School House in Ham Road, Shoreham, where it had been based for 13 years.

A two-year search for a bigger, more suitable property and fund-raising, including receiving grants from The Big Lottery fund, The Tudor trust and Garfield Weston, led the association to the Corner House in Southwick Street, which was formerly a nursing home.

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The association moved in last week and its new home is proving to be just the right place for members. Project co-ordinator Pauline Russell said: "We have around 70 clients on our books and about 25 coming here every day.

"They have suffered from depression, nervous breakdowns or stress and been referred to us by the community mental health team. They come from across Adur and we cater for people aged 16 to 65.

"We had outgrown the Old School House. It was too small and we didn't have disabled access."

The Corner House boasts a dining room and pool table area, a kitchen where a hot meal is provided each day for members, a reception area, main lounge, a kitchen for members where they can make drinks, a gym, a computer suite, a meeting room, quiet room and library, art room, and a room for complementary therapies, where members can enjoy having Indian head massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and acupuncture.

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As well as meeting other sufferers, members can have one-to-one art and gym sessions if they are nervous about meeting new people.

The Pathways Project, which helps those who are trying to get back into the workforce or need training, is also based at the centre, and Shoreham Citizens Advice Bureau comes in and regularly runs appointments.

The association, formed in 1982, opens the Corner House on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11.30am to 4.30pm, on Wednesdays from 4.30pm to 9.30pm and runs fortnightly trips on a Saturday, as well as opening from 10am to 3pm on Sundays.

Those who don't have their own transport can use the Adur Community Transport Bus to get to the centre.

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Pauline said: "Initially, we did get some concerns from a few residents in the community when we were given planning permission to use the Corner House, but we think it is a great place for our clients.

"Southwick Community Centre, the leisure centre and the Square facilities are all on our doorstep and we are happy to let any residents have a look round our new premises.

"We are aware there is still a lot of misunderstanding surrounding mental illness, but one in four of us will suffer from some form of mental illness at some point in our lives, so it is much more common than people realise. We are here to offer a lifeline to those who have been ill and to help them retrain, learn a new skill, make new friends or just to feel their old selves again."

Adur East Lions' Club has donated 1,000 to the association, which it has spent on new commercial kitchen equipment at the Corner House.