'Winston Churchill' in show of support for Shropshire mental health service relaunch in Shrewsbury

People may have been mistaken for thinking they spotted England's greatest war-time leader in Shrewsbury this week as 'Winston Churchill' visited the town to promote the relaunch of a county mental health service.

Winston Churchill impersonator Winstan, played by Stan Streather, volunteered his time to support the relaunch event of Shropshire Mental Health Support (MHS), formerly known as Shropshire Mind
Winston Churchill impersonator Winstan, played by Stan Streather, volunteered his time to support the relaunch event of Shropshire Mental Health Support (MHS), formerly known as Shropshire Mind

With cigar in hand and accompanied by his 'black dog', Winstan Churchill – played by Stan Streather – took to The Square in aid of Shropshire Mental Health Support (MHS), formerly known as Shropshire Mind.

The impersonator gave up his time for the good cause having attended some of the service's Zoom support sessions throughout lockdown.

Also attended by the High Sheriff of Shropshire, Tony Morris-Eyton, the event was staged to let people know the service is still on hand to help at a time where many need it most.

The challenges of the pandemic are far from over for many organisations, according to a new survey from the Co-op using data from more than 3,000 organisations.

It found more than three quarters – 76 per cent – of surveyed community causes expected demand for their services to increase over the next six months, including 94 per cent of groups working to support mental health and 96 per cent of groups supporting young people.

Winston Churchill impersonator Winstan, played by Stan Streather, volunteered his time to support the relaunch event of Shropshire Mental Health Support (MHS), formerly known as Shropshire Mind

Meanwhile, since launching its telephone support service in March 2020, Shropshire MHS found in July that 70 per cent of callers were people that had not reached out for support in the past.

As of March 2021, the service had made more than 11,500 support calls and answered nearly 6,000, often stepping in where other services had closed due to the Covid crisis.

CEO Heather Ireland said: "Given the events of the past year, it's more important than ever to keep the focus on mental health.

"We're no longer part of the national Mind, but are providing the exact same support than we have done, plus we're expanding.

"Now, lots of people coming through the pandemic have realised they have, or are struggling, and have needed to reach out."

To get in contact with Shropshire MHS between 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday, call 01743368647. Outside of these hours call the access service on 03001240365.

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