VOLUNTEERS and users of a charity supporting adults with mental health needs have told of the benefits of using the Tavistock resource.

Make a Difference is small charity tucked round the back of a street running under the former railway viaduct in Tavistock, but it makes a big on-going difference to its local resident users.

Now the charity needs supporting itself as it appeals for volunteers to ensure vulnerable people can be offered a wider range of practical activities such as sewing, cooking and woodwork.

The charity has moved from its former site offering group activities aimed at rebuilding self-confidence and giving people the chance to socialise and prevent isolation followed by a descent into mental stress.

One of the few classes still going is sewing, run by volunteer Gill Allenby, wife of the former chairman of the charity. She said: ‘I’m helping someone who is a bit vulnerable and worries a lot. Our meeting place is a safe haven for anyone who feels the same way. They like coming here because they are made to feel welcome. We are non-judgemental and only here to support and talk if they want to.

‘I’m helping by running a sewing session and the lady who I’m passing on some skills to, doesn’t realise it but she is very good. The best I can do for her is to help her realise her potential and let her get on with what she is god at and showing to herself what she’s capable of. In this way I’m hoping she gains some more confidence which will spill over into her life generally.’

Gill said she also benefited from helping others: ‘I’m retired now, so I’ve got some spare time and really want to do something useful. My husband James helped form Make a Difference after seeing unmet need as a GP. We can help people with complex needs when professionals can’t and offer an alternative.’

Patricia, who says she lacks confidence, is taking part in the sewing class and said: ‘I come regularly and have done for a long time. I’m doing alterations to a handbag and tunic andtwo hats. I come because I feel vulnerable and I’m not as confident as I’d like. It’s major life events that cause me a lot of stress and anxiety. But coming here does help because I feel less worried talking to people like Gill and other people who come for some support.’ Luke Knight is a user: ‘I am knocked back by big things happening in my life like relationships and deaths. But coming here calms me down and I worry less. Socialising with people who have the same issues is far better than sitting at home alone feeling worse. We share experiences and ways of coping.’ Anyone who might be interested is asked to call Sandy on 07766 768048. You can find out more on the webesite at https://makeadifferencetavistock.org