New cafe and hobby centre opens in city suburb
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022
A woman who has battled depression for years has opened a new cafe in a bid to support people who are struggling after the pandemic.
Ruth Burrows, 50, moved to Sprowston Methodist Church in September 2019 from Lincoln with her husband, the new minister Rev Andy Burrows.
But she was spurred to start the new non-religious Renew Wellbeing Cafe at the church in Wroxham Road last October after hearing about how badly people's mental health had got during lockdown.
Mrs Burrows has lived with depression prompted by seasonal affective disorder, often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days, since she was a teenager and said a service like the Renew Wellbeing Cafe would have helped her.
She said: "The cafe is about telling people it is OK not to be OK. It concentrates on how you are as a person and gives you space and time.
"I suffer with my mental health and I have had to learn there are times when I acknowledge times I'm feeling a bit rubbish. We have got to be kind to each other."
The cafe joins a network of around 200 church-based cafes supported by the Renew Wellbeing nationwide organisation and is the first in Norfolk.
She added: "This cafe is in its infancy but we are getting really positive feedback.
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"It is about connecting people that spent far too much time on their own in lockdown.
"It makes you happy when you are with people. It is one of the five basic things people need."
The pastoral worker, who has been hospitalised in the past due to her depression, described herself as an advocate for talking about mental health and said there was still an element of stigma around the issue.
"I want the community to know they are not alone and the cafe is somewhere people can go where they wont be judged," Mrs Burrows added.
The cafe, which has Covid-mitigation measures in place encourages people to take part in hobbies and runs from 9.30am-12.30pm on Tuesday and 1-4pm on Friday.
If anyone wants to volunteer email they should firstname.lastname@example.org
For mental health support call Norfolk and Waveney Mind on 0300 330 5488.