Interaction with learners

Thanet winners of the Kent Mental Health and Wellbeing Awards

Winners from the Thanet region

Submitted to the Thanet Gazette

Projects that have helped the public cope with life during the lockdown were celebrated at the Kent Mental Health and Wellbeing Awards.

33 people, organizations and initiatives were recognized at the annual event, which took place at the Ashford International Hotel on October 22.

Keynote addresses were delivered by two-time Olympian Jack Green, Kent County Council Cabinet Member Cllr Clair Bell, and KCC Acting Director of Public Health Allison Duggal.

South Kent athlete Jack Green has revealed how his own mental health issues affected him as part of the GB team at the London 2012 Olympics and Rio 2016 Olympics .

Jack’s passion for wellness issues has led him to champion openness and transparency about mental health issues – and to become an Honorary Patron of South Kent Mind.

This year’s winners

Thanet’s Sport or Community Activity Project of the Year was awarded to the Charity Football Club’s Head in the Game initiative.

Supported by Kent County Council and managed in partnership with Talk Club, the Head in the Game project supports men’s mental health and well-being through football.

It brings together men aged 25 to 55, of all abilities or sporting experience, so that they can talk, socialize and express their emotions without judgment.

Digital communication facilitated additional recordings and updates, to give members the opportunity to share their struggles and challenges between sessions.

Thanet’s Activity Coordinator of the Year – for the business sector – has been named the CIC Community Driving School.

The CIC Community Driving School is the only non-profit driving school in the UK. It recognizes that taking your driving test is not just a driver’s license, but also a freedom license.

The school breaks down the formidable financial barriers of learning to drive by allowing people from low-income households to learn their lessons through community volunteering. It also gives people the opportunity to boost their self-esteem and gain vital work experience.

When Covid-19 suspended classes, denying many learners their only social interaction, the school used Zoom and phone calls to stay in touch and prepare people for their theory tests.

Jenny Woledge from Suicide Mourning Survivors

In addition to the district awards, ten nominees were named county champions and received a limited edition trophy.

It was designed by 12-year-old Faith Tuohy of Homewood School and Sixth Form Center in Tenterden and cut from sustainable bamboo by Cactus Graphics in Dover.

Kent Suicide Prevention Champion 2021 has been named Jenny Woledge of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide.

Jenny’s proactive, dynamic and tireless attitude has been an invaluable resource for the Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Network, where she helps as a volunteer with lived experience.

Jenny is a trained suicide and self-injury prevention trainer, operating in schools, workplaces and universities. Help is at hand.

During the pandemic, Jenny played a key role in maintaining access to these groups and resources – virtually sharing her time, experience and compassion, to provide vital support to the growing number of people seeking help.

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South Kent Mind mental health charity executive director Simon Dolby co-hosted the evening.

He said: “Mental health has been the Cinderella of health services for too long and its champions deserve to be in the spotlight.

“These awards demonstrate the dedication and passion of so many charities, volunteers and professionals to the sector – and I am proud to have played a role in celebrating their hard work and commitment.

A good practice booklet detailing the 33 winning nominations will be sent to 1,000 organizations in Kent and can be downloaded here.

The event was supported by an independent jury including Stagecoach SE, Loch Associates, KCC Public Health, Medway Council Public Health, Kent Community Foundation, The National Lottery Community Fund, Crossways Community, Blessing by Ble, Cactus Graphics, Ashford International Hotel, Co-op, Premier Foods and Independent Music Productions.

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