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Friends to ‘needy’
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
couple set up drop-in centre in 1987
A COUPLE who set up a drop-in centre have been nominated for an Our Heroes Award.
Gail Cotton was so shocked by her experience of visiting a friend in a mental health hospital in 1987 that she and her husband Nick set up the Forest Hill Drop-in Centre.
Around 20 people each week visit the centre at St Saviour’s Church in Brockley Rise on Wednesday evenings, for tea, chats, games of dominoes and Scrabble.
They also enjoy trips to the seaside and tourist attractions in London.
Mr and Mrs Cotton, who have never had a grant and raise their own funds, have been nominated for the award as part of our campaign to recognise the achievements of people in South London.
Centre member Yanamah Chummun, who nominated the pair, said: “They work selflessly and tirelessly raising and managing funds, coping with difficult and stressful situations with members, juggling volunteer rotas. “Come rain and shine the group is open for the needy.
“For the members it is wonderful to be able to go somewhere where they receive such kindness and warmth, make friends, and feel less isolated - especially when public, friends and family may shun them because of their mental illness.”
Mrs Cotton, a mother of two sons and grandmother to four grandsons, said: “I found it so upsetting [visiting her friend in 1987].
“When people are put away we hope they are going to be looked after. And of course some things have improved.
“We have deliberately remained small and informal. Friendship is key to what we do and our emphasis is on individuals, the whole person, rather than focusing on any illness they may have.”
To volunteer, call the Cottons on 020 8670 5822.
Nominations have closed for the Our Heroes campaign. Nominees’ stories will be given to a panel of judges this month. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony at the South Bank headquarters of sponsors Shell on November 15.
Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd Thursday, 20 June 2013
Other Our Heroes Awards 2011:
Sir Ray Tindle
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