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Posted on May 18 2022 by Fiona Bailey

A popular vocational centre that helps individuals with complex mental health problems learn essential life skills has received a cash injection from a local shopping outlet.

Workbridge, part of St Andrew’s Healthcare, has been given £500 by Weston Favell Shopping Centre, which wanted to do something to mark Mental Health Awareness Week that started on Monday 9 May. The money was donated as part of the retail outlet’s Community Fund which gifts cheques to local charitable causes.

Set up 41 years ago to offer a vocational pathway for people with mental illness, autism and learning disabilities, Workbridge is at the centre of many people’s lives as they gain valuable work experience at the cafe, charity shop, garden centre and workshop.

Weston Favell Centre Manager Kevin Lagg and Marketing Manager Zoë Butler recently visited Workbridge, which is located on the Bedford Road. There they met with Workbridge Retail Operations Manager Ben White who showed them around the site.

Kevin said: “We had the pleasure of presenting a cheque for £500 to Workbridge which will go towards its wonderful cause. We were so impressed with Workbridge and its wonderful surroundings. It’s a unique environment and we think the community of Northampton are very lucky to have such a wonderful place which supports people who might need a bit of a helping hand getting back on their feet.

“With Mental Health Awareness Week coming up, we thought it was important we support such an important cause. I think the pandemic has impacted many people, so finding ways to support those with mental health causes or finding ways to help prevent developing problems in the first place is definitely worthwhile.” 

Workbridge is located within the grounds of charity hospital St Andrew’s Healthcare which provides specialist mental healthcare for people with complicated mental health needs.

Ben added: “From one shopping outlet to another, we would like to thank the team at Weston Favell Shopping Centre for their generosity. The money will be wisely spent on continuing to improve our facilities which are helping to enrich the lives of our service users and volunteers.

“We have a very special team of people here and we’re very proud of the work we do. Our environment provides those who may have a mental illness, autism, learning disabilities or brain injuries, with the tools they need to gain confidence, developing work and life skills whilst providing the public with vibrant plants, gifts, delicious coffee and cake and much more.

“Despite having been trading more than 40 years, many people in Northampton do not know what we do here so why not pop down and sample our freshly baked cakes in the award-winning Workbridge café or visit our bustling garden centre?”

Weston Favell Shopping Centre’s Community Fund has allowed the outlet to donate more than £3,000 to a number of local charities across the town over the past few weeks.

The fund is largely made up of monies raised via its Honesty Library located within the shopping centre.

Other organisations which have benefitted include The Lewis Foundation, Guide Dogs, the 43rd Northampton Scout Group, The Wellingborough Swimming Club, Growing Together Northampton, The Northampton Gang Show and The Northampton Hope Centre.