856. Verity Rhodes
Verity Rhodes, from Merseyside, created ‘Vee’s Place’ in 2001 to support hundreds of people in her local community who are struggling with mental health problems.
Due to her own personal experiences with depression, Verity recognised how few facilities were available in her area, one of the most deprived in the country, for those discharged from hospital but still in need of mental health support. Working with local health groups, clinics and public services to provide a socially inclusive facility, Verity attracted over 300 members in the first six months. The support her community centre offers has significantly reduced GP and hospital waiting times in her area, providing activities and resources that challenge the stigma of mental health.
Verity’s award coincides with ‘Local Charities Day’, which highlights the work of small charities that are making remarkable differences in their communities. It also shines a spotlight on unsung heroes, like Verity, and celebrates the commitment of volunteers who devote their time to improving the lives of others. Verity received her award in a presentation from Marie Rimmer CBE, MP for St Helens South and Whiston.
In a personal letter to Verity, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“By establishing ‘Vee’s Place’ you have created an inclusive community hub that welcomes people from different backgrounds and cultures. The services and support offered at the centre are a testament to your commitment to helping others suffering from mental health issues and you should be tremendously proud of the positive impact it is having on your local area.”