By Emily Craigie
A lifeline cafe for people trying to come to terms with mental health episodes is the finalist for a charity award.
Hestia, a charity supporting adults in crisis, is hoping supporters will vote for it in the Health and Social Care category of the Charity Today Awards for their Recovery Café in Tooting.
It provides mental health support for adults and regularly assists people experiencing suicidal thoughts or a desire to self-harm.
Café attendee Rob* said: “The café has saved my life, if I couldn’t come here I would have
ended up hurting myself.”
Area Manager for Hestia’s Mental Health Crisis services Elvio Correia said the café is a
lifeline for members of the community.
He added: “We’re thrilled to be a finalist in the Charity Today Awards for our work at our
“The coronavirus pandemic is having a great impact on the nation’s mental health, and
services like this are becoming ever more crucial, with many people finding they are
reaching the point of crisis far quicker than usual.”
Members of the public can vote for the service on the Charity Today Awards’ Twitter page.
Set up in April 2017, the Recovery Café supports attendees to reduce their immediate
feelings of crisis while developing coping mechanisms.
By introducing a health screening process on arrival, increased cleaning and social
distancing measures it has been able to continue with face-to-face and telephone services
throughout the lockdown.
This includes one-to-one support and sharing details of other relevant services.
Café user Merl* said: “I know them and they know me. I like that it’s not clinical, it makes me
feel safer. I come after work, it’s a place I can decompress and I feel safe to have a crisis
here so I don't take it home. I don’t have an alternative.”
The cafe is accessible for residents in the Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton, Kingston and
Richmond boroughs and had almost 6,500 attendances at the service in 2019/20.
It is funded by the South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.
To access the telephone support line call 07794 394 920 and the drop-in service is located
at 966 Garratt Lane, SW17 0ND.
Opening hours are 6pm to 11pm Monday – Friday, and 12pm to 11pm on Saturday, Sunday
and bank holidays.
You can vote on Twitter- @CharityAwards- from today, Monday 22 June, for one week. The
other finalists are Harry’s HAT Charity and Martin House Hospice.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.
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