The Sanctuary held a successful opening at St Ambrose Church, Widnes.
The new venture which is held in the church each Wednesday at 10:30-12:30pm was the idea of Rev Laura Leatherbarrow a Church of England curate in the East Widnes team.
Laura explained how The Sanctuary was born:
"I was aware that Halton borough had a higher than average population, suffering from Mental health issues and with those issues isolation often follows, so as a church we wanted to serve our community, help our Local council and support those providing mental health services including MIND and the stretched NHS.
The Sanctuary is a safe space for all people in our community to come and share their stories, and be with people who feel the same way. It could be that you’re lonely and a single parent, or elderly and alone, you could suffer anxiety or depression, or be a carer for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia or any other issue. We are here to listen to your stories and show some love and care to our fantastic community to get to know each other and to watch out for each other. It's community at its best. We have set out a café at the back of the church which is warm and cosy and each week we will offer tea, coffee, hot chocolate, teacakes, cake and biscuits free of charge."
During the morning people could use the crafts provided and some enjoyed making a card for a loved one. Adult colouring materials were available using ‘mindfulness’ sheets. MIND workers will be present each week offering mental health support and advice as well as others who are planned to come and offer chats around health and well-being.
At the opening session MIND worker Gail was delighted with the group and the positivity that was present in the room. "Aromatherapy candles flickered on the tables some were using the creative crafts and some were chatting and sharing stories."
Councillor Andrea Wall from Kingsway Ward in Widnes was also present and was delighted with the venture, stating “it’s a venture that will grow from strength to strength and is much needed in Widnes, I wish it every success for the future, and I am pleased that this has been offered to the community, oh and they do great cake!”.