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Mental Health Organisations Partner to Introduce City’s First Wellbeing Café

Two of the city’s leading mental health organisations – Living Well UK and Birmingham Mind – have joined forces to tackle growing mental health concerns with the city’s first wellbeing café. With over £450k of funding from NHS England, grounded. will officially open its doors in Selly Oak this September with more sites due to follow.

Thanks to investment from NHS England, the first-of-its-kind café has rejuvenated a former GP surgery and will offer visitors a place to relax, recover, and recoup with a host of community events and workshops, as well as group and one-to-one therapies on offer.

Open Monday to Friday, grounded. will generate multiple jobs across Living Well UK, Birmingham Mind, and Evolve Birmingham, and is set to become a true hub for the Selly Oak area, which is home to over 25,000 residents – nearly a third of which are studying at the University of Birmingham.

Living Well UK and Birmingham Mind – who already provide extensive free mental health support across Birmingham and Solihull, including a 24/7 helpline, crisis cafés, and tailored practitioner-led programmes – have embarked on this joint venture as student support helpline, Nightline, reports a concerning 51.4% increase in calls since 2020.

Assisting in crafting the aesthetic and essence of grounded., Sculpt, an architectural interior design agency located in Birmingham, has led the efforts in transforming the former GP site into a calming space. Throughout every phase of the journey, Sculpt has remained a central creative driving force orchestrating the conception and opportunity of this exceptional space.

Ben Howells, Chief Executive Officer at Living Well UK, comments:

“In the midst of a mental health crisis, both locally and across the UK, grounded. presents an opportunity to bring much-needed support to local communities. We’ve been honoured to help bring grounded. to life, and the entire team behind its development has been fantastic.

“With the financial support of NHS England, we’ve been able to transform what was once a GP surgery into a hub for the diverse community in Selly Oak and the wider South-West Birmingham area. The team on site will be working hard to deliver accessible mental health support for those who need it and a warm, welcoming space for those who just want to come by for a cup of coffee.

“Supported by the investment into the region’s mental health services, we’re already looking ahead to how we can open more grounded. hubs, create more jobs, and make mental health support more accessible in the West Midlands.”

Open Monday to Friday, grounded. will be operated by Evolve; a social enterprise that provides job opportunities and training for those who have faced barriers to employment.

Helen Wadley, the CEO at Birmingham Mind, adds:

“With continued strain on mental health services across the UK due to changes in funding, delegation, and protocol, grounded. marks a step forward in giving communities access to crucial mental health support – whether that’s a 1-to-1 chat in a therapy room or a moment of mindfulness with a coffee.

“Naturally, grounded. will welcome the large student community in Selly Oak, but it’s also a space for anyone to stop by and make use of the wonderful programme of events and workshops, supported by dedicated and trained mental health practitioners on-site.

“We’re also delighted to be able to use grounded. as Birmingham Mind’s Talking Space to offer a safe welcoming place where the community can visit outside of opening hours for mental health support.

“It’s been wonderful celebrating the new community hub, and we can’t wait to officially welcome everyone to grounded. in September!”

To find out more about grounded., please visit their website.

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Living Well Consortium is the West Midlands’ leading mental health consortium, which consists of over 30 mental health organisations. These consortium members each use their experience and networks to work in a cross-collaborative way, to ensure that those who are looking for ways to access mental health and wellbeing support can do so in an efficient way. These Third Sector members work to relieve the pressure felt by the medical services, by delivering community-based and community-oriented services that focus on prevention, wellness, recovery, and resilience, in turn building a more sustainable and long-lasting solution. To deliver this approach using the members’ collective knowledge, resources, and capacity, Living Well UK is the public-facing charity that brings the work of the consortium members to the people of the West Midlands. This charity arm provides free mental health support to people living in Birmingham and Solihull, promoting well-being from an individual and community perspective to help find practical solutions to life’s challenges. These include online stress and anxiety courses, counselling and self-help, creative therapies, and CBT, drawing on the knowledge of a consortium of expert members across the city. For information about the work of the consortium, you can visit Living Well UK’s website.

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