Local young people’s charity, Off the Record, is establishing the first wellbeing café for under 25’s in Bath.
The café aims to be a safe space for young people (aged 13-25) who are struggling with their mental health, providing opportunities for them to meet up, relax, make new friends, share experiences and develop new ways of talking and coping. The café will offer reasonably priced hot/cold drinks and snacks, and is open to any young person who needs support with their mental wellbeing.
The café will be staffed by Off the Record qualified counsellors, listening support workers, youth workers and volunteers. A range of activities will be on offer each week and young people will have the opportunity to shape the development of the café.
The sessions will run on Fridays weekly from 4pm-6.30pm in The Open House café Manvers Street Baptist church. The first session will be held on Friday 11 October to mark World Mental Health day (10 Oct), the day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. This session will include free wellbeing goodie bags to the first 30 young people that attend, as well as vouchers for a free drink and snack for the inaugural Okay Café.
The sessions have been initially funded by kind donation of the venue from Manvers Street Baptist Church, and a start-up fund from Altus consulting, as well as a grant from the Quartet Community Foundation. To help ensure the sustainability of this new service, the public can also make one off donations here or set up a monthly donation via Localgiving. Just the cost of a cuppa and cake can help OTR reach support more young people in the local area.
Phil Walters, Director of Off the Record, said, “We are delighted that this new venture enables us to continue our work giving those under 25 across BANES the opportunity to drop in and get the support they need in a relaxed and accessible environment. OTR has 25 years experience of improving the emotional health and wellbeing of young people. Last year OTR supported over 2,500 young people to increase their confidence and resilience – this year we hope to reach and support even more young people.”
Alison Collier, Consulting Operations Manager at Altus, added, “As OTR was our chosen charity this year, we’ve spent time working with them on their future strategy and business plan. We are impressed with all they are trying to achieve and the work they put into supporting the young people of BANES, but also the enormous effort it takes to secure funding to continue the vital work they do.
“When they spoke about the potential café that the young people were asking for and the challenge of securing the funds, we didn’t hesitate in providing the stepping stone to kick the new project off. We wish OTR all the best and hope that this new service will help more young people to find the support they need.”
Sue Turner, Chief Executive at Quartet Community Foundation, said, “We’re delighted to support Off the Record so they can offer this important service for local young people. Our Vital Signs reports highlight the need for mental health provision and how this can make an enormous difference to the lives of local people.”
Dave Twine from Manvers Street Baptist Church, said “The Café has been open for over 25 years, and when it was being planned all those years ago, there was always a hope that it could be used especially for young people. This new venture undertaken by OTR fills us with hope and excitement.”