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Soup kitchen to offer world’s first mental health drop-in centre

Homeless centre Whitfield Street Soup Kitchen is raising £30,000 to provide specialist help alongside hot meals

A homeless centre is hoping to soup up its offerings with a first-of-its-kind mental health drop-in service.

London’s Whitfield Street Soup Kitchen is fundraising for £30,000 to recruit a professional support worker to allow regulars at the centre to receive help whenever they need it two or three days a week.

The money will cover a £26,000 salary as well as £4,000 on the labour, materials and furniture to build a small consultancy room at the kitchen.

For those guests that need the help we will re-engage them with their mental health issues and accelerate their path back to health

It is hoped that the pioneering move will help the centre differentiate itself from the 1,600 soup kitchens in the capital by providing a service that tackles one of the underlying reasons that can result in homelessness.

The scheme could help remove some of the barriers preventing people from improving their living situation.

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With many people losing contact with the health services when they find themselves on the street, Whitfield Street Soup Kitchen are also hoping to help those with mental health issues to re-connect with the support they need.

The centre have teamed up with media companies Posterscope, PSI and MKTG to launch their campaign today in a bid to tie in with World Mental Health Day.

A Whitfield Street Soup Kitchen spokesperson said: “Our aim is for our professional to build dialogue, trust and relationships, with the regulars.

“For those guests that need the help we will re-engage them with their mental health issues and accelerate their path back to health, back to their families, back to work and off the streets.”

A spokesman from mental health charity Mind added: “The support available for mental health and homeless people are sometimes complex to navigate, and people often stop engaging with the support offered.

“There is a lot on offer beyond the NHS, so rather than providing one option of support on site (e.g. a counsellor), a better choice, and capacity can be provided through a link worker.

“A link worker will help support people to be aware of options and where to get help with practical and social needs. They also take on the role of going with people to appointments to help make an important first step.”

Contributions to the fundraiser can be made here.

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