Who we are

What is MindSpace?

MindSpace Stamford is a local charity committed to improving the wellbeing of the people who live, work and learn in Stamford and the surrounding areas, helping people to flourish. We encourage conversations around positive wellbeing in our homes, businesses, and schools and offer a range of activities based on the 5 ways to wellbeing, that anyone can access (for free!) to encourage positive mental health and wellbeing.

Our story

Faced with the lack of local services to support mental health, Dr. Dan Petrie founded the Stamford Mental Health Forum in 2015, bringing together members of the community to discuss what services were required locally, and how to overcome the stigma of mental illness. This led to the creation of a drop-in café: a ‘safe space’ where anyone could come along to talk or listen in a non-judgemental atmosphere. This approach developed into what we now know as MindSpace Stamford.

The number of services offered may have grown considerably and we now have our own premises, but the aim of MindSpace remains the same –increase the knowledge and understanding of mental health in the community, by providing ways to prevent ill health through better conversations.

Our activities now run every weekday, and our fundraising efforts mean that these continue to be offered free of charge to all of our members (members being the term we use for those who attend our events – there is no ‘formal’ membership!).

We also invest in local initiatives and work with businesses and schools to educate people and equip the whole community so that they can support loved ones, friends, colleagues, and neighbors, to reduce the burden of loneliness and mental ill-health.

For further information about what we aim to achieve and how we work, please take a look at our vision and mission.

SUPPORT OUR WORK

Board of trustees and team

Our board of trustees brings together various local professionals with a range of skills and includes a former headteacher, an accountant, a journalist, a GP and a former nurse. All trustees work for MindSpace on a voluntary basis.

Together the group has developed both an aspirational strategic plan and a detailed operational plan to guide us in working towards achieving our vision.

We also wouldn’t be who we are without our wonderful team of volunteers and our members – you can read comments from our members at the bottom of this page and click here for some from our volunteers.

Improving the wellbeing of the people
of Stamford through a
community approach

Beka Avery

Chair of Trustees

I am a textbook extrovert who gains energy and joy from people. I grew up in Essex but chose Stamford as my hometown. Being a trustee of MindSpace helps me to support my community and be informed and resilient enough to support friends, neighbours and relatives in maintaining positive mental health. I have worked across the NHS, the Police and now at The University of Leicester delivering collaborative outreach and engagement projects. My current project supports young people in overcoming barriers to higher education in areas where GCSE results are good, but fewer students continue their education post-18. I have to work hard at maintaining positive mental wellbeing but I find wild swimming and being outdoors really help, as does cooking for friends.

Dr Dan Petrie
Dr Dan Petrie

Founder

I am a GP near Stamford where I live with my family and where my children go to school. As someone who often comes into contact with people who have mental health problems, I launched MindSpace Stamford to reduce the stigma associated with such difficulties and give local people the help and support they need to improve their mental wellbeing. I am proud of the range of activities we offer, whether they be physical or mindful or just the chance for people to share their story with others. I believe this will help the mental wellbeing of our local community as a whole to flourish.

Chris Young

Trustee - Wellbeing Garden

For as long as I remember I’ve known about the power of plants and the importance of having a connection with nature and gardens. As a trained landscape designer, horticultural content consultant, and former Editor of the Royal Horticultural Society’s magazine The Garden, I’ve been surrounded by access to, and knowledge of, green space and growing plants. Outside space is vital for our mental health, whether an allotment, garden, windowbox or park. As co-designer of the Mindspace Garden, I hope we can get more and more people using it, to either sit back and relax in or to start their gardening journey.

Adam O'Hara

Trustee - Finance

Stamford has been home for nearly 20 years where I also work as accountant and am the owner of a local accountancy firm. Outside of work I love all sports, the outdoors (ideally when its warmer) and spending time with friends and family. I am very excited to support the local community that is such a big part of my life. The opportunity to join MindSpace Stamford as finance trustee allows me to put my experience and professional skills to a better use – being part of something supporting the community with a cause I care about, and one which I think is very important to Stamford.

Sue Parslow

Trustee - Marketing and Communications

I am delighted to join the board of trustees for MindSpace Stamford. Having been aware of the excellent work of Dan and his team for many years, I am looking forward to contributing towards helping to spread the word about MindSpace and what it has to offer the people of Stamford.
I have lived in my present home in Stamford for about ten years, happily returning here after a period of living near Peterborough. Having worked in the centre of town too, I feel I know it well.
My background is in journalism and for two decades lived the dream of editing the magazine that I launched. Now I work as a freelance, juggling numerous roles. I still work in magazine publishing and most recently branched out into copywriting and PR work.
I fully understand the importance of an organisation which promotes the various routes to mental wellness, not least because my Mum had bipolar disorder. Thank goodness we can now all openly talk about depression, anxiety and mental illness – and there are people within the community who will listen and can help.

Stefan Rakowski

Trustee - Information Systems

I am an Information Systems professional and business management consultant, experienced in supporting organisations to improve efficiency and effectiveness. A Stamford resident since 2017, I look forward to contributing IS support to the valuable service which MindSpace provides to the local community. My interests include lifelong learning, country walks, photography, and spending time with friends and family.

Alison Toomey

Trustee - Fundraising

Having spent the last 30 years living in Stamford, I am delighted to have the opportunity to help to build our community into one that lives well and supports each other to help improve mental wellbeing. Having worked in the Charity sector for the best part of my career, from grass roots fundraising through to Stategic Leadership, I am very passionate about the contribution the third sector can make to improve people's lives. I am really excited about the opportunities MindSpace can bring to Stamford and about being part of this amazing team.

Zoe McKeague

Trustee - Operations

I was previously an operations director of a legal company and partner of a Top 75 law firm. I am now a non-practising solicitor and company director of a firm I set up in April 2010, which provides legal services to other firms of solicitors. Having suffered a major depressive episode 10 years ago and then being diagnosed with Bi-Polar, with limited access to health care services, I am consciously aware of the needs of those suffering with mental health illnesses. MindSpace Stamford gives me both the opportunity to apply my professional experience and my personal experience of mental illness. Outside of work and MindSpace Stamford, I love spending time at home with my young son and husband, I also enjoy running, which helps my mental illness and cooking.

Pip Tiffin
Pip Tiffin

People & Operations Lead

As People & Operations Lead, I have a wide-ranging role which not only includes looking after our brilliant team but also the strategic development of the charity. This includes working with members of the community to bring their group idea to life as well as building and maintaining partnerships with third party organisations and fundraising. I'm always amazed at how generous the Stamford community is in volunteering their time, skills and knowledge to support others. Having experienced burnout 5 years ago, my recovery included practicing the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, which is still very much a part of my life today and I enjoy spending time with family and friends, walking, gardening and going to the gym.

Jo Coulter

Resourcer

I am responsible for the marketing communications at MindSpace, looking after social media and website, press releases, design of promotional materials for new activities and writing of case studies for reporting, and anything else that comes my way. Mental health and wellbeing is a cause close to my heart, and I am glad to spend my working time as part of an organisation that promotes wellbeing so actively and positively. Having begun my MindSpace life hosting activities at our Wellbeing Hub, I have seen myself how much of a lifeline the service can be. When I’m not working, I enjoy being active and I play, coach and umpire netball regularly. I spend most of my spare time outside with horses and my dogs but love to read or do something creative when I’m at home.

Kay Harrington

Garden Lead

As the Wellbeing Garden Lead, I oversee everything that happens at the garden, helping volunteers and Mindspace members create and maintain our beautiful surroundings. When our garden sessions are on there is always something to do if you want to join in or just sit and enjoy a cuppa with us. I love to see how the difference an hour or two outside in nature with friendly faces can really turn your day around! Gardening has always played a big part in mine and my family’s own wellbeing which is why I wanted to work at the wellbeing garden helping others. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, crafts and yoga.

Tracey Jones

Night Light Cafe Co-ordinator

As the Night Light Café Co-ordinator, I manage our regular twice weekly evening service for the local community to connect, decompress and meet new friends. I joined MindSpace in early 2022, initially as a volunteer – it was time for me to give back and get more immersed in our local community after living here for many years. I’ve had my own mental health challenges and my work at MindSpace allows me to use my lived experience, along with my expertise in training and coaching to do something really worthwhile. When I’m not working, down time for me is a combination of yoga, and time with family and friends, ideally outdoors with good food! When time allows, there’s nothing better than a day by the sea, blue and green spaces are the best for my wellbeing.

Carys Vaughan

Night Light Cafe Host

I work for MindSpace as the Thursday evening Night Light Host. I love what MindSpace do and feel really pleased that we have such a great charity supporting mental health and wellbeing within our community. I also enjoy connecting with people and creating spaces where people can be themselves, feel relaxed and accepted. Things that are important to me are family, friends, community - feeling part of a connected community that supports and helps each other. For wellbeing and relaxation, I love being in nature - walking, getting my hands stuck in some mud, standing in awe under a huge oak tree - basically anything outside and in the elements! I also love reading, sitting around a fire with friends and expressing myself through dance and poetry.

Stacey Hare

Charity Support Officer

I began my MindSpace life by volunteering at our Night Light Cafe, because I wanted to use the skills I have been learning through my counselling training. I chose MindSpace because it is a great charity that provides services like no other to the local community. I am proud to now be part of the team, helping to make a difference to everyone in Stamford and the local areas. My family is the most important thing to me. Spending time with them out in nature, making memories is how I like to spend my spare time. To relax I enjoy reading, walking and more recently, learning how to garden.

What our members say about MindSpace

"I don’t like physical activity normally, but boxing is such great fun and Marc the coach is so encouraging and supportive to motivate me and make me feel good about myself, thank you Marc"

"From feeling hopeless to hopeful ... A fabulous place to meet like-minded people in a non-judgemental and relaxing atmosphere."

"It can be very scary to go to a group which is set up to give help and support with your mental health. But everyone is so welcoming, you can be involved as much, or as little as you like."

"MindSpace is absolutely amazing, we are so lucky to have something like this in our town, thanks to the effort and dedication of Dan and everyone else who has made me feel so welcome and at home here."

"MindSpace has really helped me to turn my life around. Thank you all so very much."

"Without a doubt the best support I have ever attended is the café events that MindSpace Stamford provides for all. Their support has been priceless. I would not be the woman I am today without them. They welcome everyone without judgment. They provide social and 1:1 without referrals or questionnaires."

"Good for people to feel welcome and have the chance to talk to people if they need to."

"Help me to realise that I am not alone and that there is a place to go where there is no judgment. You provide a nice atmosphere at the Thursday café."

"Meeting people through MindSpace has helped me through a difficult last year."

"MindSpace has given me a space to socialise and put some structure in my life."

"MindSpace gives me a safe space to go and talk. No-one judges me."

"MindSpace has had a dramatic effect on my life and confidence. I was a recluse but I now look forward to the varied MindSpace events."

"On the brink of ending everything, MindSpace gave me a safe place to go – to feel that I was heard, not judged and worth staying alive for. If it wasn’t for MindSpace I would not be here today. Marc’s sessions … have given me focus, allowed my mind to think of other things, but importantly, it has given me a sense of community, hope and belonging."

"I have participated in yoga which I enjoyed, I’ve been to boxing classes and loved that, really helped me get some of my frustration out on the punch bags. 😂 I enjoyed coming to the cafe and being with others playing scrabble etc. It made me feel less alone and helped talking to others who are struggling with mental health. Having tea and cake 🍰 was also a real comfort. I have had the worst year to date with my mental health and to find MindSpace and all the lovely people and volunteers who run this has been a blessing. 😇 I hope to be able to return to boxing 🥊 and enjoy a game of scrabble again soon. And eat more cake 🍰. Thank you everyone at MindSpace. "