Can you help Revival create a positive future? Will you be a Revival Proud Member? For just £10 a year investment you will be supporting the community, protecting services and helping Revival stay on the High Street as an integral and sustainable community asset.
To donate go to: www.revivalkent.co.uk
Revival needs a new home
Despite fighting an invalid notice, attempting mediation, and amassing nearly 4,000 signatures on a petition set up by a local mum, the Horsebridge Centre has insisted that Revival vacate the premises by the beginning of May. We will not have the 10-year lease we signed recognised and we will not be reimbursed for any of our £30k investment unless we take them to court.
We will try and salvage what we can and will be taking up some of the kind offers we have had to store items for us. Obviously, we cannot take the expensive flooring, tiling or decoration with us and we are not being compensated for the time, labour or the myriad of other ways Revival invested and committed to the Horsebridge.
Revival staff members have worked incredibly hard over the last two years, always remaining positive and believing in the value of partnership and collaboration and genuinely knowing that we are stronger together.
During this time Revival relied on the positive agreements and understandings that initially led Mind in Bexley & East Kent Mind to agree to move to the Horsebridge and sign a 10-year lease. We trusted that this lease would be completed; it was not, for 15 months the Horsebridge trustees failed to action the lease despite reassurances that it was in hand.
This left Revival with no security when the Horsebridge decided that they found it too difficult to work with our mental-health and wellbeing charity and wanted Revival out of the building. When so many charities and businesses have faced closure or have been forced to permanently close during the pandemic, we never for one minute thought, having fought so hard to remain viable and to continue to support the community in the best way we could, that we would be impacted so severely by the decisions of another charity.
So much to lose
The Revival cafe has the dual role of being a community cafe/wellbeing hub and the main source of income that allows us to provide our wellbeing and mental-health support and initiatives that have been even more needed during the pandemic. We have long known that location is everything in order to ensure visibility, accessibility, viability and sustainability.
The genesis of Revival was the recognition that mental health and wellbeing touches all our lives and is not only intrinsically linked to physical health but is also impacted by social, cultural and economic opportunities and imperatives. Revival’s aims and objectives have therefore always incorporated a more holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing, with employment and volunteer opportunities, social connectedness, access to affordable healthy food, information and signposting, peer support and mentoring, and community at its heart. Revival has continued its support work as much as possible throughout the last year and this last lockdown.
Providing a space where mental wellbeing is firmly on the agenda and where everyone in the community rubs shoulders with each other is so important. Sharing spaces changes perspectives and creates empathy and understanding where we all learn to accept and be less fearful of difference or distress. This is such a simple and inclusive way to raise awareness and challenge stigma: non-threatening and non-invasive.
Location, location, location
One of the most important aspects of this approach is that it is not hidden, it is not divided off into a “mental-health space” only. So many organisations are sadly stuck in a bygone age where people and places were divided by what was deemed “appropriate”; such perspectives are based on fear: fear of otherness, fear of the unexpected, fear of losing control, fear of their own vulnerability. When people think about mental health in this way, they are only seeing problems, extremes, and crisis; they fail to see or connect with their own mental health and wellbeing or how we all experience our emotions, our resilience, our vulnerability at different points in our lives, or even at different points in the day.
Revival aims to break down these prejudices, perspectives and stigmas, ensuring that the passers-by that happily stumble across the cafe and enter, attracted by the friendly welcome and eclectic furniture and vinyl decks, leave knowing that it’s OK not to be OK, that there is somewhere to get help and information and find out about local support and groups that can positively impact on wellbeing, that there is a place to have a friendly chat, sit and listen to vinyl, just sit and watch the world go by or to know that their purchase makes a real difference and supports local mental-health support and awareness initiatives.
This is why location is so important, why Revival needs to be central and on the High Street. This is what makes the Revival approach successful, being visible and accessible as well as viable in terms of footfall and support.
Unfortunately, so much of Whitstable High Street is prohibitive and simply out of reach. We have, however, been inspired by the nearly 4,000 people that signed the petition to save Revival. We started to think that maybe we could stay on the High Street as a positive presence if the community were part of the solution and shared in our future.
The power of community
The invaluable support of local residents and businesses has kept the staff going and served as a positive reminder that Revival exists because of the community we serve. We now need the community to be part of our next journey. We hope that there can be a positive outcome for Revival, one where we are not arbitrarily forced to close and stop our mental-health support and where the Revival vision of a creative wellbeing hub can be realised, where we can secure the employment of our 11 local staff, allow us to continue our employment support programme, develop our volunteer network and partnerships such as Food Friends, delivering food and support to those in mental-health need and to be there for everyone in the community when needed while raising awareness and challenging the stigma.
Our request is simple but ambitious: we are asking people to become Revival Proud Members for a donation of £10 a year — that’s about 83p a month — or any amount you can afford. If everyone that signed the petition pledged to become an RPM, we could get back into a property on the High Street — with enough members the unaffordable High Street becomes possible and together we can show that Whitstable values and wants to protect community spaces and the mental health and wellbeing of its residents. The community can help turn a terribly negative decision into a positive outcome.
Any money received that takes us over the basic costs to keep Revival services on the High Street will be used to directly support our partnership with Food Friends, delivering food and support to local residents in mental-health need. It will also be used to develop and maintain the Revival peer-mentoring programme, providing 1:1 goal-orientated support, helping people to move forward and build on their achievements, giving them the confidence to set new goals to work towards.
If we fail to reach a viable target — 3,000 RPMs — the money raised will be used to complete our current mentoring relationships from our mental-health outreach work and the rest will be donated to East Kent Mind for the development of services.
In becoming a Revival member, you will become part of the new Revival story to help us create a sustainable, creative, multipurpose wellbeing space: a safe, inclusive, family-friendly and welcoming social space for the community to meet. It will allow us work more closely with East Kent Mind and develop partnerships to support the most vulnerable and isolated in mental-health need. The first 4,000 members will also have their name permanently and proudly displayed as part of a graphic artwork within Revival’s new premises and you will benefit from members’ days throughout the year.
You can make this happen; you can make a difference. Revival has developed so much over the last four to five years, and there is still so much more to be achieved, especially as we are still living under a pandemic and grappling with the effects of loss, isolation, insecurity and fear.
How you can donate and become a Revival Proud Member
You can donate any amount and choose either monthly or yearly, or just make a one-off donation of support. You do not need PayPal to donate, when you click on the link you will be given the option for PayPal or card payment.
We will be having a raising awareness leafleting day on the High Street by the old Barclays bank on Saturday (April 24) from 11am to 4pm, where you can stop for a chat and pick up a leaflet with our bank details if you would prefer to set up a direct debit. Keith Brymer Jones from Channel 4’s The Great Pottery Throw Down will be there to support us, at around 12.30, on the day.
We are also talking with a local shop to see if donations can be sent or dropped off there; please keep an eye on our social media for updates.
By helping us, you are helping everyone and sending a very clear message that mental-health and wellbeing services are valued and are a priority. We are stronger together.
Deborah Haylett is the Business and Development Manager of Revival, East Kent Mind
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