A community cafe in Swindon is making a positive impact on individuals recovering from mental health crises. The cafe, run by mental health charity The Recovery Tree, provides support and opportunities for those looking to reintegrate into the workforce. With 80 volunteers and 23 part-time staff, many of whom have their own mental health challenges, the cafe and its garden have become a safe haven for individuals like Simon Mundy. Simon, who believed he would never find full-time employment due to his mental health problems, has found solace and a sense of security at the cafe.
The Recovery Tree is dedicated to helping not only those recovering from mental illness but also adults with various mental difficulties. One such individual is Nick, a new recruit with Down’s syndrome, who finds joy in operating the till at the cafe. Phyllida Richards, the cafe manager, stresses the importance of providing opportunities for individuals with mental health struggles to lead fulfilling lives that include work and social interaction. She recognizes that mental health issues can persist over time and that some individuals live with them throughout their lives. The success of the Twigs garden and Olive Tree Cafe is largely thanks to the ongoing support from the Zurich Community Trust, the charitable arm of Zurich, a local employer in Swindon.
The Zurich Community Trust has a longstanding commitment to corporate social responsibility and has been at the forefront of large companies supporting their local communities. In fact, the trust was one of the pioneers of this concept, which has now become commonplace in the corporate world. As the trust celebrates its 50th anniversary, Steve Grimmett, the head of the Zurich Community Trust, acknowledges the instrumental role played by Baron Joel Joffe, a former member of the insurance company and a prominent figure in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement. Grimmett emphasizes the trust’s dedication to working with grassroots organizations, where their investment in time, skills, and funding can have a significant impact.
The Recovery Tree’s community cafe and garden are not only providing a supportive environment for individuals recovering from mental health crises but also offering vital opportunities for those with mental difficulties to reintegrate into the workforce. With the ongoing support of the Zurich Community Trust, these initiatives are making a real difference in the lives of individuals in Swindon and beyond.