A charity in Barming, which uses its specialist café kitchen to reach out to people with mental health problems, has received funding from Golding Homes’ Community Chest Fund.
The Blackthorn Trust is a holistic health facility looking to combat mental health and isolation through therapeutic placements which include growing, and cooking in the vegetarian café on site, that is also open to the public.
The money will enable the charity to adapt its café kitchen so that service users including those in wheelchairs can access cooking and café workshops aimed at increasing life skills, building confidence and encouraging more interaction.
Helped by Golding Homes, the Trust is also launching a ‘foodshare’ project ensuring any food left each day is donated to another local organisation feeding hungry families during the Covid crisis and beyond.
Speaking about the project Emma Halpin of Blackthorn Trust said: “We now know more than ever people have been really suffering with mental health and feelings of isolation, so this money from Golding Homes will make a real difference.
“We will be using it to furnish a new workspace area in the kitchen and create a deli with some brand-new equipment which will help our workshops to run safely when we re-open more fully in September.”
A previous café workshop participant said: “It felt like the equivalent of a chef growing produce in a garden and then making a meal from it, an end-to-end process. Finally, I got a big sense of achievement from making something and then seeing people enjoy it.
“Every week we did something different, and I enjoyed the combination of working inside and outdoors. It was good to work with the friendly and knowledgeable workshop leaders, thanks to everyone at Blackthorn for helping me and giving me the confidence to go for it.”
The Blackthorn Trust has been running rehabilitation workshops for over 30 years, helping local people with mental health problems and chronic long-term medical conditions with support to manage their illness and work towards their individual life goals.
“It offers specialist therapies and rehabilitation at its specialist facility near Maidstone, which includes therapy rooms, a large biodynamic garden, the café and kitchen, craft studios and support groups.
Golding Homes community development advisor, Lin Perkins said: “Golding Homes is committed to making a positive difference to our communities and supporting local projects like this is really important to us. We are delighted to be able to help the Blackthorn Trust with this funding and are looking forward to visiting the café kitchen next month and seeing it in action.”
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