People’s Health Trust is the charitable arm of the The Health Lottery, the UK’s second largest lottery. It markets itself has having a greater chance to win a small prize, even the top prize. But it’s main remit is to provide access to funding for health projects around the country. From the far north of Scotland to the south coast, many projects have already successfully benefited from Health Lottery Funding. The latest is an IoW Anxiety Cafe whose grant from the People’s Health Trust ensures their survival for at least another two years.
What is the IoW Anxiety Cafe?
Run by a local charity called Independent Arts, it provides a space for people with social anxiety to meet. This is daunting in itself. The IoW Anxiety Cafe understands the difficulties of encouraging such people to mix and mingle with others who also suffer from the same issues. It isn’t just a coffee shop, a space for people who struggle to mix to do so. It offers creative sessions to teach practical skills to locals. Creativity workshops come in many forms, from singing to painting, from textile design to mindfulness. Sessions are every Wednesday at Newport Methodist Church Hall. It’s fully interactive and participants are asked what else they would like to see.
The IoW Anxiety Cafe helps people with social anxiety, but what is social anxiety? Essentially, it’s the fear of social situations. People who experience this low-level mental illness feel anxious and stressed at the possibility of meeting and mixing with people. Reasons for it are many but for some, helping them get on in life is merely a case of building their confidence for social situations. It is not merely shyness, but a severe fear and inability to communicate. That is why such programmes exist, to help people mix and overcome their fears of other people.