A Solihull mental health activist opens tearoom in Touchwood - The Solihull Observer

A Solihull mental health activist opens tearoom in Touchwood

Solihull Editorial 19th Dec, 2022   0

A SOLIHULL food poverty activist has opened a tearoom in the Touchwood centre.

Theresa Farrell has been campaigning for more mental mental health support after struggling herself.

She opening the tearoom, Touchwood Well-being Retreat, as a pop up seven years ago, but now it is a permanent fixture in the centre.

She said: “I was in a real bad place 10 years ago, I lost everything, my partner, my home. I had family but was too proud to ask for help. But what it did do was bring me to my work and I now ask for others.”

“So I set up the Push on Well-being 10 week programme (combining dance-step fitness, mindfulness and meditation) in Chelmsley Wood on my little own with no funding and no money, no NHS direction, no GPs and no council.”

Push On Wellbeing covers the entire West Midlands with people now coming over from as far away as Stratford on Avon as food poverty spreads through the affluent suburbs of the Midlands.

She added: “We help people today, we don’t put them on a waiting list.

“Three months ago, I was the 26th call made by a lady in the south of Solihull who hadn’t eaten for two weeks. I got food to her within an hour and a half of the call, making the visit with one of my other volunteers as I didn’t know what I was going into.

“We knocked, heard this little voice indoors and eventually she opened the door and then just collapsed. The next day, I spoke to Saqib Bhakti MP and said ‘I do not want to receive a call like that ever again.’

She said people from all over come to the tearoom.

“We’ve had a lot of ladies who have lost loved ones and it’s just a lovely place for people to come in, feel safe and talk openly about their struggles.

“We have some lovely volunteers in there who are trained and who are naturally kind and sympathetic listeners.

“I want to create these lovely spaces with volunteers who want to help their  community. We wouldn’t let visitors leave until they felt better, and if they were struggling we would send them up to the Citizens Advice hub who would arrange further support.

“What we do is help them today so they can always come back to us whether they’re feeling bad or having an absolutely amazing day.

“It’s created a community in itself with some of those we’ve helped becoming volunteers themselves once they find this purpose.”

Touchwood Well-being Retreat is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

They are looking for another five volunteers so that they can open six days a week.

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