Letchworth man reveals “life-line” will go after mental health support group announces closure

John Storey has attended the group in Letchworth for over 15 years

John Storey has attended the group in Letchworth for over 15 years - Credit: Archant

An elderly man who has attended a mental health support group for 15 years is set to lose his “lifeline”.

Since 1999 John Storey, of Grange Court in Letchworth, has spent two hours every Sunday at the town’s Mrs Howard Memorial Hall on Norton Way South attending a support group run by mental health charity Mind.

Members of the group, which supports people with learning difficulties and mental health issues, were told last week that it will close on Sunday, August 3, due to a lack of volunteers.

The 72-year-old said: “I wish I didn’t but I rely on these groups, they are my lifeline. I have suffered many nervous breakdowns since my early 20s and have ended up in mental hospitals several times.

“When I go there I am with people who suffer from the same conditions that I have and we can relate to each other. I feel safe there which I just don’t anywhere else.

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“I’m not the only one either. If it wasn’t for these clubs a lot of us would go to pot. It’s what keeps us going.”

In a letter to the group’s members, Mind Letchworth said: “Following a recent review of Letchworth Mind we realised we are unable to offer the range of specialised mental health services our members and the people of Letchworth require.

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“We looked into running more mental health services but unfortunately we are not able to staff it. For this reason, the committee have voted and unanimously agreed to hand over to Mind in Mid-Herts and close Letchworth Mind.”

Gloria Holland, chief executive officer for MIND in Mid-Herts, said: “The current group is run by volunteers, some of whom, after years of support can no longer continue.

“We have arranged a meeting with the group’s chair and the local authority on July 30th to establish where to go from here.

“Support for the existing group will continue if volunteers are found. Future group support will be discussed at that meeting.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact admin@mindinmidherts.org.uk

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