Visyon - Co-op Local Cause

A Congleton based mental health charity has continued to offer its vital services to the children and young people who need it throughout the lockdown.

Visyon has adapted to find innovative ways to offer its services mental health support services to children and young people, which have traditionally been on a face-to-face basis.

Laura Whitaker, the charity’s head of service development, explained how they have continued its vital role in the community.

“We’ve moved our service online and over the telephone, which is something new as we’ve never really had a remote online offering before this, its always been face-to-face. We were lucky that our staff already had the equipment to do this and we were quickly able to move to this remote offer,” she said.

Visyon is able to offer young people the option of speaking to someone over the phone, over WhatsApp and via video conferencing software.

Laura said: “We’re really proud of still being able to offer people the option of, ‘how do you want to engage with us and what works best for you’. Most are finding the telephone works really well for them.”

It’s through community partnerships, such as the one they have struck up with the Co-op, that they can continue to offer an innovative service to those that need it.

Visyon a local Congleton cause under the Co-op Local Community Fund. The fund helps pay for services in the community that members care about.

Every time members shop with the Co-op, 1% of what they spend on selected own-branded products and services goes to help fund community projects where they live.

So far, members have raised £1,122 for Visyon to provide open access sessions for young people to talk about their feelings and find the best way to get support.

Before the open access initiative was established, Visyon offered services through a referral system.

Laura said: “We were finding waiting lists were growing, not just for us, but for mental health services in general around the area. Quite often if you just get a piece of paper, it doesn’t always tell you the full picture.

“We were set up to help when people asked for help, so we felt it was really important to find a way, if people were asking for help, we could at least provide some initial help and support.”

She added the open access service means children and young people can access the support without having to wait.

“The Co-op Foundation was advertised as an option and we felt that a partnership with the Co-op was a really great way, as it’s about the community and this service is about saying to the community, ‘we’re here, come and use us’”.

As well as their partnership through the fund, Laura said the team at the Congleton Co-op have “gone the extra mile” when it comes to fundraising, particularly during Children’s Mental Health Week in February.

“We’re a charity trying to support young people and the Co-op is a business, but we’re both very community minded and it’s great to be able to partner with businesses like this who can help finance us as a charity or provide the in kind support, like the Co-op staff have done,” Laura said.

For more information on Visyon click here.

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