Pilot mental health project launched in Oswestry

18 May 2022

A pilot project has been launched to support people in Oswestry who are experiencing poor mental health and/or substance misuse.

The Health Equalities Partnership (HEP) Programme, funded by NHSE/I, is a collaboration between , Shrosphire Telford and Wrekin CCG, Shropshire Mental Health Support (MHS), Designs in Mind, Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust and We are With You, and is designed to improve the wellbeing and mental health of Oswestry residents.

Oswestry has the second largest population in Shropshire and is a vibrant market town, with plenty of community spirit and support. However, outside of Shrewsbury, it has the highest number of mental health interventions and levels of drug and alcohol misuse within the area are also high.

Using creative resources in the community, MHS and Designs in Mind will introduce people to new tools to use as coping mechanisms, increase self-confidence, and teach people to manage their conditions using non-clinical interventions.

The project complements existing support by extending the mental health offer in the town and utilising the creative resources in the community to offer a programme that explores mental health and wellbeing through a blended programme of one-to-one support, group work and arts based activity.

Shropshire Council Public Health has spearheaded the project and we are very happy that it has galvanised community and public services to support people in the Oswestry. The project demonstrates that the community and voluntary sector offer supports real improvement in the health of our local people.

Heather Ireland of MHS said: “The Reconnect Programme, Shropshire MHS’s contribution to the HEP, offers a great chance for people to come together and talk about their struggles. The group is facilitated by two members of staff who are passionate about supporting people to make positive change and empower people with their journey. It is a six week programme and we have seen some amazing outcomes, one person said: ‘It is life changing, I have felt so supported to make a better life for myself, it has meant the world to me.”

Councillor Simon Jones, cabinet member for public health, added: “It is brilliant to see partnership working like this to improve the quality of life for our residents. The work of Designs in Mind and Shropshire MHS really makes a difference to their users lives through arts based activities and group support. As Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, it is fantastic to see integrated programmes across health, care and VCSE coming to fruition in support of Shropshire people.”

Find out more about the programme at the open day, starting at Designs in Mind, in Cross Street, Oswestry, on 20 May from 11am to 1pm, then at 12A in Salop Road, Oswestry, from 1pm to 3pm.

Councillor Mike Isherwood for Oswestry West said: “I’m really pleased to see this project starting in Oswestry.  Empowering people experiencing mental health and well-being challenges is an important but often overlooked aspect in the range of services available. Designs in Mind are well known in Oswestry for creatively supporting mental health and other issues within the community and this partnership with other organisations will undoubtedly be of huge value to those who make use of the tools and skills on offer.” 

Councillor Duncan Kerr for Oswestry South said: “This is a really important example of how the public and voluntary sectors can work together to provide practical solutions to help people in Oswestry and breakdown some of the barriers for seeking help with mental health issues.”

Page last updated 18 May 2022