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New support group for those with mental health issues launches in Sandwich

By Eleanor Perkins

Support for those with mental illness and depression in the district is growing with a new evening group starting in Sandwich.

Former Deal mayoress Tracy Carr has been running self-funded support group Talk It Out in Deal for five years.

After her appearance on BBC’s Inside Out last month when she spoke out about the lack of services available to those in crisis, the Langton Close resident has been inundated with messages from more people in need. It has prompted her to expand the group.

Tracy Carr and Cllr Dan Friend outside the Phoenix Centre in Sandwich where the new group will meet

Tracy Carr and Cllr Dan Friend outside the Phoenix Centre in Sandwich where the new group will meet

She approached Sandwich town councillor Dan Friend, who she says is passionate about helping people with mental illness, and they secured a venue.

Talk It Out Sandwich will launch at The Phoenix Centre in Jubilee Road at 6pm on Wednesday, March 8. The two-hour meeting will run every other Wednesday from then on.

“At the end of the day people want to meet like-minded people who understand them.” - Tracy Carr

Cllr Friend said: “Tracy and her group make such a valuable contribution to the community in Deal, that when she approached me about the possibility of a Sandwich group I was keen to help make it happen.

“After gathering feedback it was clear that this type of support would be of benefit to people in Sandwich and the villages.”

The informal sessions offer people a chance to chat about their problems over a cup of tea.

Mrs Carr said: “At the end of the day people want to meet like-minded people who understand them.”

Cllr Friend added: “Every one who comes along is assured of a warm welcome.”

Entry to the group costs £1.50 to cover the cost of rent. Refreshments are included.

Phil Scott from the Phoenix Centre has offered a discounted rent to the group for the first three months.

Campaigners will also be in Sandwich today (Saturday) collecting signatures on a petition to review, change and improve mental health services in Deal and the surrounding areas.

The Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme will be lending a hand too.

To sign the petition here.

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