Tunbridge Wells Mind marks 20 years of helping mental health
3rd April 2019
A CHARITY shop that has spent 20 years helping people with mental health issues celebrated its birthday with a visit from the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells last week.
Mind, at the top of Tunbridge Wells High Street, is one of the town’s oldest thrift shops. It has raised more than £2million over two decades with the help of dozens of volunteers.
Mayor Len Horwood, who was invited with his wife, Judy, did not arrive empty-handed. He donated a box of doll’s house accessories before cutting the birthday cake with volunteer of 20 years Faith Powell.
He said: “I think it demonstrates the amount of hard work put in by the people who work here and all the volunteers that give up their time.
“To last for 20 years in this retail environment shows the strength of giving and charitable nature of the people in the town.”
Alison Homewood, who has managed the charity shop for the last 14 years, said the birthday celebration was a way to recognise all the volunteers, customers and donors who have supported the charity.
She said: “Thanks to their help we have raised more than £2million over the last 20 years, so I want to just say thank you for everybody involved over the years.”
Some of the shop’s many regular customers also joined the party. Ben Marks, a museum curator from London who works in Tunbridge Wells one day a week, always pops into the shop.
“You always get great things in here. I come for the little knick-knacks that you won’t find anywhere else. But more than that, it is nice to come in and have a chat with Alison.”
Mind’s Managing Director, Andrew Vale, was also at the event and remarked: “It is a fantastic achievement to have had a shop here for 20 years.
“When it started we had perhaps 30 or 40 in the country. Now, thanks to people like Alison, we have 160.”
He added that one in four of people will experience some form of mental health issue during their lives.
“Having a presence here on the High Street in Tunbridge Wells is so important to help people with their mental health and tackling the stigma that surrounds mental health issues,” he said.
“Thanks to shops like this, people are now more willing to speak about it than they were 20 years ago, which has raised awareness.”