Minds2gether is a service user led mental health support group.

Minds2gether came about because the ‘drop in’ services being provided by MIND in Dunstable were first scaled back and then stopped completely in June 2017. A group of people who had been using the drop in centre continued to get together at events and coffee shops to support each other. From these meetings a service user support group was born.

The group was initially called ‘Friends By Choice’ with sessions being held in Houghton Regis. But without any outside funding it became increasingly difficult to continue in Houghton Regis or to consider expansion into neighbouring areas.

A member of the group, together with a representative from Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire met with the local MP to discuss acquiring some funding to support the group. Funding was secured for refreshments and the group also received support from a local supermarket and Central Bedfordshire Council.

As a service user led group they are unable to take self-referrals. However, the group is seeking funding for a professional mental health support worker, art materials and training courses to enable them to take self-referrals and become a more structured and robust organisation.

Minds2gether held their grand opening event on 5 January 2018. The event was well attended by members of the support group and several local dignitaries. The group will be running a weekly session in Dunstable and hope to expand their support group to Leighton Buzzard in future.

Minds2Gether opening

One member says The group offers a much needed service to help with recovery, provide support and just a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Since their opening event on 5 January, and with the continued support and involvement of Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire on a number of fronts, this user led group has now secured funding from local government to sustain them until April 2019.

If you would like to find out more about Minds2gether please contact Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire in the first instance.