It must be love. The stars come out to support Revival and Mental Health
Following the Café Revival shock eviction notice from the Horsebridge Arts Centre, our community member funding campaign is going from strength to strength, and we were thrilled to receive such strong support from the local community and businesses on Saturday 24th April during our raising awareness event on Whitstable’s High Street.
We were joined by Suggs (Madness), Keith Brymer Jones (Great Pottery Throw down Channel 4) and local Whitstable Pearl author, Julie Wassmer, who all expressed their support for the positive initiative launched by Revival whereby everyone can become a community member for just £10 a year to help Revival, and the vital mental health support our charity provides, to relocate to the High Street in order to stay local, accessible and viable for the community.
Suggs, who has been following the story in the local press said that it was “Madness that Revival had been kicked off the High Street in a pandemic when mental health support was needed more than ever” he agreed that a visible presence was really important as mental health services are often hidden away, and that the decision to remove the Revival was ‘baffling’ as a café was a great informal way to break down the barriers:
“It’s not like you couldn’t just go in and have a coffee, anyone could go in, it was for people with mental health issues and without, it welcomed everyone and that is important…you need it local; you need just to be able to walk in”.
He also spoke about the importance of community action and fully supported the Revival Proud Members (RPM) initiative:-
“It’s great to get the community involved… Mental health work should be supported…you definitely need to keep it on the High Street for everyone…I’m behind you all the way”.
He was interested to hear about Revival’s Peer Support and how we had managed to keep it going throughout lockdown and he was impressed by the Revival outreach work in partnership with Food Friends.
We were also really pleased to engage Suggs in the Revival ‘Ways to Wellbeing’ campaign, part of which is the collection of ‘Three little words’ that express how individuals look after their wellbeing. These words will form part of a community artwork created by Ben Dickson, local artist and will be included in a community exhibition at the beginning of July 2021. You will have to wait and see what he said as the campaign launches properly in May, suffice to say it was quintessentially Madness.
Keith Brymer Jones has supported Revival for many years and has spoken about why it is so important to protect its mental health support and keep it accessible on the High Street:
“Revival’s mental health support within the community is incredibly effective and practical. Effective as it highlights mental health issues and achieves this by way of using the café as a platform for reaching out to people and integrating a service right into the very heart of the local community.
There really couldn’t be a better place for this kind of initiative, never more so in these current and stressful times making the decision for eviction even more perplexing. I am saddened that the management of The Horsebridge have not had a change of heart, it does not reflect well in the community they claim to serve.”
Keith, who was out speaking to locals and handing out information leaflets at our event, was enthusiastic about turning a negative situation into a positive future and he talked about why the community should get involved: “It is great that Revival have found a positive way to involve the whole community in this initiative, Revival is a community asset that should be protected, you never know when you or someone you know may need support”
These sentiments were echoed by many of the community that came out to support Revival that day, or simply stopped to find out more and take a leaflet. Author Julie Wassmer who has supported Revival against its eviction from the Horsebridge said “Revival is a much loved, much respected and much needed local mental health resource in our town, evidenced by the fact that nearly 4,000 people signed a petition urging the Horsebridge trustees to reverse their decision to evict the charity. Sadly, they failed to do so, which is why our local community is now doing its utmost to raise funds through this new member scheme to keep Revival at the heart of our community”.
The support from local businesses was also fantastic to see, having struggled themselves over the last year they fully empathised with the situation Revival has been forced into and have taken leaflets to share with their customers and spread the word about the campaign to keep Revival and its services on the High Street.
We will have further awareness raising days in the coming months and you can watch out for our campaign leaflet being delivered over the following weeks with information about how you can become a Revival Proud Member. You can also join via our website – www.revivalkent.co.uk. It is only £10 a year, or whatever you can afford to become a member and protect local mental support, local jobs and provide an open, friendly and welcoming space for all.
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