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Thursday 10th of September was the World Suicide prevention Day and the theme this year was “creating hope through action”.

Preston Wellfest held an event located at the Preston Bus Station from – on this day. Red Rose Recovery attended and was represented by most of the RRR Central locality team and the Hope and Beyond team was represented by Jo Brine & Andrew Cocklin of the RRR East team.

Other organisations attending were:

Preston Samaritans, Papyrus, Minds Matter, Lancashire Mind, Let’s Grow Preston, Lancashire Women, Disability Equality North West, Phoenix Rising, Galloways Society for the Blind, LSCFT, Peer Talk, Inspire and New You, Central Lancashire Haven and n-compass, Lancashire BME Network, We Are With You, Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council

The event was an excellent networking opportunity for Red Rose to meet with other organisations involved with supporting people with mental health problems and addictions. Through this we became more aware of the support which many of these charities and organisations offer which will help us signpost even more effectively and were also able to promote the work of Red Rose Recovery itself. This will enable us to work more closely with other organisations to ensure the most well-rounded support for service users.

Some of the most useful contacts we made were:

A particularly long conversation with the local Samaritans who were very keen to hear about what we do in the community and our work within the prison system, and we feel sure that we will be able to build a good partnership with them.

Social prescribers for a group of local GP practices showed a great deal of interest; esp. in our Hope and Beyond course and support groups and said they would be encouraging their patients to refer themselves to us.

The owners from the bus station Café came over to see if or how they may be able to help and kindly offered some space to hold groups. The RRR locality team have already set up a weekly meeting, supporting Service Users in the community.

Red Rose Recovery had lots of interest and a good response from members of the public, many of whom had not heard of us before. Through our presence at this event and through conversations with people visiting or merely passing by we were able to raise our public profile and this led to some people referring themselves to us there and then as soon as they realised we could offer them the support and help they needed.

One lady in particular noticed our banner &, remembering having heard of us in medical circles before, came over to speak to us. This was the first time she had been out for 18 months and told us she had been struggling to cope with the isolation. She was extremely anxious and nervous. After a long discussion, she became emotional – saying she felt she had met people who could listen properly and hopefully be able to help  & support her. She left with tears of relief in her eyes and now attends the Red Rose Recovery Café group in the Preston Bus Station.

Written by Stuart Watson, Red Rose Recovery Lead Volunteer, East Team