A collaborative initiative to support the emotional wellbeing of Norwich residents began on World Mental Health Day (10th October).
The ‘City of Wellbeing’ initiative brings together charities, religious organisations and local businesses in the city centre, that can lend a listening ear to people experiencing emotional distress.
The scheme – devised by Norfolk’s health and social care consumer watchdog, Healthwatch Norfolk – has so far had 12 organisations sign up to participate, including, Norwich Cathedral, Cropper’s barber shop, Grape’s Hill Community Garden, as well as various cafés and religious organisations across the city centre.
As part of the project, a map has been produced which highlights the organisations people can go to, some of which have volunteers and employees trained in mental health first aid. Others are simply happy to welcome people in need of compassion or respite through their doors.
Healthwatch Norfolk trustee, Robert Ashton, who has been involved in the initiative since its inception, explained the ambition of the initiative:
“The map shows just some of the places you might go in the city centre if you need to escape the rush, reflect, think and perhaps share your anxieties with someone willing to listen. Those you meet are not mental health professionals, although some may have received mental health first aid training. All, however, will be sympathetic, patient and friendly, and able to direct you to professional support if you wish.”
Each venue involved will display a blue City of Wellbeing sticker in their window, and free maps are being distributed across Norwich which show the locations of each venue.
“We are pleased that so many organisations have offered to be listed on the map”, explained Healthwatch Norfolk CEO Alex Stewart. “As the county’s consumer champion for health and social care, we know that people in Norfolk are quick to support each other. This initiative, which we hope will grow, gives people permission to show concern for others.”
An appeal has been made by Healthwatch Norfolk for other businesses, charities and religious organisations in Norwich to offer to be included as a supporting location on the City of Wellbeing initiative in the future.
If you are interested in being included as a Norwich City of Wellbeing location, contact Healthwatch Norfolk by emailing, firstname.lastname@example.org
or calling on 01953 856029.
You can download an online version of the City of Wellbeing Map here