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Network Homes supports Hertford community group tackling the stigma of mental ill health

07 June 2022

We're supporting a resident led community group which is tackling the stigma of mental ill health. Called the Mix Café, the group meet up every Thursday from 12pm to 4pm at the Sele Community Hub in Fleming Crescent, Sele Farm. The initiative is supported by staff from our Mental Health Liaison Team and offers a safe space to connect with people and talk openly about mental ill health, whilst enjoying refreshments, games and entertainment.

The Mix Cafe is funded by East Herts District Council’s fund for community organisations and individuals. It provides grants for projects which aim to create stronger, more connected communities, leading to improved health and wellbeing for residents in East Herts.

The group’s founder is Michael Newman, a resident living in a Network Homes property, who is committed to tackling the loneliness and the stigma around mental ill health in Sele Farm and beyond.

Michael Mix Cafe 1080X1080 (1)

More and more people are suffering with their mental health, especially after the pandemic and several lockdowns. Some people are incredibly socially isolated, sat at home staring at four walls all day and some people are frightened to leave the house. This support group gives people within the community a safe haven to be heard and listened to so they can feel less alone. Through the group, I have been able to connect with people who were at first hesitant to get involved and open up, but now they’re vocal and active members of the group.

Michael Newman, Founder of the Mix Cafe

Michael adds: “Network Homes embraced my plans to open the group and arranged for me to run the weekly meetings at the Community Hub. They recently helped me apply for a grant from East Herts Council to keep the group going, which I was successfully awarded. Network Homes has been like a breath of fresh air for me when I’ve been down on my luck, and I cannot fault the support I’ve received from them.”

Full interview with Michael Newman

Gerry Doherty Board_July16-106

The Mix Café is an excellent community initiative and we’re pleased to able to support it through our Mental Health Liaison Team and by offering a space at the Sele Community Hub which we manage. Tackling mental ill health has become a higher priority in recent years, especially since the pandemic, and we’re doing all we can to help residents including supporting groups such as this.

Gerry Doherty, Network Homes Executive Director of Customer Services

Cllr Jonathan Kaye, Executive Member for Communities at East Herts Council said: “The mental health and wellbeing of residents is vitally important and we are delighted, through our community grants programme, to have been able to donate £300 to help fund the cost of materials needs for the mindfulness sessions run by Mix Café, that help support mindfulness and other key activities that bring people together.”

The group meets on Thursday from 12pm to 4pm at the Sele Community Hub, Fleming Crescent, Sele Farm, Hertford.

Find out more about the group

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