Meaningful Education officially launched the first mental health peer support group, Friends by Choice, in Houghton Regis, last week.
The service aims to provide adults living with a mental health diagnosis the opportunity to engage in their local community in a creative and non-judgemental environment.
The group is user-led and participants are encouraged to drive and steer the direction of the group, with the support of staff from Meaningful Education.
Rigerta Ahmetaj, director of Meaningful Education, said: “The launch was very well attended, with an opening by The High Sheriff of Bedfordshire stating that this service is highly needed to support people in the community living with a mental health diagnosis, including dementia.
“It was a pleasure to have the Houghton Regis deputy Mayor, councillor Ken Wattingham and Dunstable Town Mayor, councillor Gloria Martin, give a speech about the service and the importance for the people of Houghon Regis to have a safe and secure environment where they are included, safe and understood.
“We felt their was a demand for this group here and the first session had over 30 people attend. Local residents have welcomed the new service.”
The peer support group takes place every Tuesday from 10am till 12pm at The Hub, Sandringham Drive.
Rigerta added: “The sessions are in place in order for individuals to come together to support one another based on their experiences of mental illness.
“Peer support takes place when people with experience of living with a mental health illness support each other towards a better well-being, as people of equal value and on a reciprocal basis, using their own experience to provide understanding and support to their peers.”
A session is £3 and includes refreshments, visit www.meaningfuleducation.org.uk for more information, or call 07711169725.