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Bourne mental health project Don't Lose Hope holds open evening

A brand-new well-being centre has welcomed its first visitors to the building as part of a special opening evening.

Don’t Lose Hope, which has taken over the old Natwest bank in North Street, Bourne, held the open evening on April 25 for people to take a look at the refurbished building and hear more about the mental health services that will be on offer.

Seven qualified counsellors will work from the centre on weekdays, offering around 60 hours of therapy sessions.

Nicola Brister, Don't Lose Hope founder, said: “We had an open evening so that people who would be interested our services could come and have a look at the building and find out some more about us and see what we will be offering.

“I would say we had around 200 people from the local community attend the evening.

“As well as the counselling service, there will be a Men’s Shed and bushcraft area and we’ve got some raised flower beds that will be fully wheelchair accessible.

“Some activities will be structured and others will just be offered on a ‘drop in’ basis.

“We are also going to be running a café, serving teas, coffees and cakes, and this will raise money for us, so the more teas and coffees you buy, the more services we will be able to offer.

“At the moment, we’ve got about 25 volunteers for the café.

“The response we have had on social media has been absolutely brilliant and we have had hundreds of comments from people who are interested.

“We have brought the building back to life and it looks fantastic.

“It’s important to provide all of these services to the community."

Nicola also said she was hoping to get the green light to make Don't Lose Hope a Duke of Edinburgh award scheme centre shortly.

She came up for the idea after witnessing first-hand a lack of "joined up services" in Bourne through her work in local schools as a counsellor at Bourne Academy.

The services and café are open to all and it is hoped Don't Lose Hope will open to the public from mid-May.

The café will also provide a base for an informal listening service.

People receiving some benefits such as free school meals, income support or Jobseeker's Allowance will qualify for eight free sessions.

Prices for further sessions, or for those not receiving benefits, will vary depending on household income, but the aim is to keep them affordable so no one misses out on the help they need.

The Len Pick Trust has made a donation towards the renovations of the old bank and Bourne United Charities has offered land at the Wellhead for the Men's Shed and bushcraft area.

A six-year lease has been secured and Natwest are providing the premises rent-free for one year.

The charity has a board of trustees and receives no government funding.

Anyone who can help out with the project can email dontlosehopecounselling@hotmail.com or call 07823 887968.

See www.dontlosehope.co.uk.

Click HERE to purchase our photographs from the open evening.

Click HERE to read our previous story about Don't Lose Hope.

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