CROSSWAYS Community in Tunbridge Wells is celebrating its half-century with a national award from the National Council of Voluntary Organisations [NVCO] in recognition of its high standards of governance.

The charity’s Chief Executive, Christopher Munday, was thrilled to be awarded the Winifred Tumim Memorial Prize.

He said: “We are delighted to receive this governance award from NCVO in our 50th anniversary year, which we celebrated with a visit by a member of the Royal Family, The Countess of Wessex.”

Crossways has announced it will open a community café in Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells as an informal place for people to visit who may be unsure how to ask for help on mental health issues.

There are opportunities for local businesses to be part of this project by fundraising and sponsoring equipment. Crossways is also looking for a full-time café manager and volunteers to run it.

The charity was backing ‘Time to Talk’ day on February 1, a national awareness campaign which encouraged people to discuss mental health issues.

Mr Munday added: “Family, friends and colleagues are all at risk from poor mental health at some point in their lives. It’s time we ended the stigma, talked openly and learned how to help.

“I hope that 2018 is a better year for anyone who needs to improve their mental health.

“We look forward to talking about and supporting this issue for the next 50 years with vigour and enthusiasm.”

Crossways is a Christian charity supporting adults with mental health needs in West Kent.

‘We look forward to talking about and supporting this issue for the next 50 years with vigour and enthusiasm’

It provides residential care for over 40 adults with moderate to acute mental health issues and offers wider support services in the community, challenging ignorance and stigma about mental health.

It recognises that pressures on young people and adults can be overwhelming these days, so it works with teachers in primary and secondary schools to provide tailored and interactive learning to students.

Their work also helps students to spot signs of poor mental health in themselves and others, and provides coping strategies.

Crossways also delivers interactive training courses for business owners and staff to ‘understand, listen and communicate’ to improve mental health.

It says: “Stressful careers, a long commute, family and relationship problems, health and financial worries all take their toll, and in the Tunbridge Wells and wider West Kent area the needs are growing.”

There are three residential schemes where adults with acute to moderate mental health issues are accommodated and supported according to their needs.

The charity’s ‘Enterprises’ programme teaches the residents a range of rehabilitating life skills – including selling goods online, gardening, furniture restoration and retail skills – ‘to ensure that everyone can thrive and experience fulfilling lives’.

For information and support, please visit www.crosswayscommunity.co.uk