I come from a psychological background. While studying for my psychology degree in 2003, MSC in Forensic Psychology, and working in many fields within the NHS, the Police and Psychological service in the private sector, I believed there was something missing in the mental health industry and in so many ways having a mental health problem can be a critical time in one’s life. Therefore, it is vital that people get the right help and support, as I know myself from having a mental health problem for over 26 years.
After meeting a patient, who passed away in 2013, I decided to set up the MHA Trust to help people with mental health problems get back into work, while providing help and support in other areas of their lives. Cutting down on isolation and providing a place of business where people could train to learn new skills, building confidence and self esteem, without having to worry about their mental health problem. Hence the MHA Trust shop was started in Blackheath.
It’s become a community hub and has a buzz because we have social classes where people have time to sit and chat and relax. As the Director and the Founder I am passionate about the MHA Trust and want it to progress and develop into a place that can serve more people. We are not just colleagues we have become a family. Being a small grain of sand in a vast desert can be difficult especially when so many people need your help and support.
However, where else can you turn with us the door is always open if we can help we will but if we can’t we know a man who can.
Polly, Marketing and Media Assistant
I am a trained journalist, and have worked in the media, TV and Internet business for eight years. I wrote features, travelling all over the country and abroad, for national women’s weekly and monthly magazines in London and Australia.
Since moving into the charity sector, I have worked at leading charities such as Barnardo’s, children’s charity before working in the mental health sector. At the Mental Health Activity Trust, I promote the charity in the media, produce content for the website, write news items and blogs and attend to social media. I am passionate about supporting the MHA Trust’s cause, helping support people with mental health problems into work.
Pat is our Patron of the charity and became involved when the shop opened in memory of her son, in 2014. She has lost two children to mental health problems and knows how important to have help and support when you are in work and out of work. She states: “The MHA Trust has had great achievements in such a short period of time and I will always continue to support it.”
Anthony, Secretary of the Committee
I have known Toni for over 30 years and have seen her work hard to set up the charity and the business in Delacourt Road. I became a member of the committee to help and support its progress. I am the Secretary and help manage the day-to-day communication. My background is in distribution and I have much experience in religious studies.
Leon, Committee Member
My background is in IT and I became involved with the MHA Trust some time ago, helping out with their IT issues. I am now a member of the committee that helps support all the work the MHA Trust does. It’s no easy task and it can be very strenuous but the outcome out ways the cost. To see so many people in work being supported and sustaining that employment is a real development .We always need more members to join the committee with expertise that would help the charity grow.
Carole, Knitting and Crochet Tutor
I have been knitting and crocheting for over forty years. I started when my grandfather first taught me at the age of 10. The first thing I made was a shawl and have since made many items as well as clothing for my children. I found it comforting and a way to keep my hands busy. I’m not a master as I have not been trained but am self-taught and am more than competent to teach others. One time I decided to make a cushion cover that ended up becoming a king sized blanket.
Kevin, Arts and Crafts Tutor
I come from a long line of very creative family and have been doing clothing design for some time. I up cycle jackets and decorate and paint hats for people in the music industry. I started helping out at the MHA Trust as a volunteer. However, I started tutoring on the Arts and Crafts classes and have since been doing it ever since. We cover all aspects of arts and crafts even up cycling items that come into the shop. Anyone can join in, you just need to get in touch with the MHA Trust.
Julie and Michael, Window Dressers
Julie and Michael are our Window Dresses who help design and transform our window displays Julie has a background in visual merchandising and Michael is in entertainment.