Meeting takes place – To help the the people of Stone after recent tragedies

Sent from Mr David Leech

On Sunday 16th November a group of around 20 local people got together at the Crown Hotel to talk about what we, local people, could do to support our local young people after what has been a horrendous twelve months for many of them.

The group was made up of family members of the some of the young people we have lost, and other concerned local residents, many of which also work in healthcare, counselling, mental health services, youth services, public health, marketing and more.

The group agreed on number of key things:


Stone is great place to live but right now there is a desperate need for this town to rally around its young people.

Our response must be ‘community-led.’ To make sure that local people are supported now and for the long term, it is important that we ourselves take the responsibility.

Of course there are many services provided by a range of organisations (NHS, Local Authorities, charities etc) and these must be taken advantage of, but the long-term aim should be for us as a community to be looking out for each other.

The community needs to open up and look out for each other even more than ever keeping our eyes, ears and minds open. Also, young people at the meeting who have been directly affected said, “We need more friends” – they want a space to talk, share their experiences with each other, make new friends and, where necessary, get a little extra advice from someone who can help.

 Next steps:
 Step 1:

A Public Meeting where we hope to announce the venue and meeting times for the regular community support groups.

David Leech who is co-ordinating the creation of the support groups in the town, stated,

“We are arranging a Public Meeting locally within the next two weeks so that anyone that wishes to can attend and just listen or obtain further information or find out how they can get involved.

The Public meeting will include guest speakers who will briefly share information around young people coping with grief and bereavement, as well as Depression and the aftermath of suicide followed by a Question & Answer session.

After tea/coffee anyone wishing to, can meet in small separate groups to share some thoughts and experiences or simply observe and listen.”

A small amount of funding will be required to cover immediate cost of venue hire and refreshments, so there will be a contribution box should anyone attending wish to help.

The group will be seeking support from local venues and/or local businesses to help cover the costs of venue-hire and refreshments, please contact us if you can help.

The date and venue of this meeting will be posted on The Stone Gazette website and on posters displayed throughout the town.

 Step 2:

Setting up of a local ‘Changes Health and Wellbeing’ Youth Support Group (Venue dates & times to be announced at the Public Meeting)

Paul Freestone, Full Time Wellness Coach for Changes/One Recovery, stated:

“Changes have agreed to support a young persons’ mutual support group in Stone and are happy to start this group as soon as possible.

The Group will be open to any young person between the ages of 16-25 who would like to receive support in any area of their life from others who are experiencing similar situations.

Changes have a proven track record of providing successful mutual support groups to young people in Stoke-on-Trent, and want to expand to support the young people of Stone.

They will provide experienced and qualified staff, along with trained young people who can offer advice and guidance from their life experiences.

Changes will also offer the opportunity for young people to volunteer to help and support others, and could potentially undertake training for them to run their own groups.”

 Step 3:

Depression Alliance Group for all (Venue dates & times to be announced at the Public Meeting)

A national network of self help groups are supported by Depression Alliance across the country.

The groups are open to anyone affected by depression and they provide a safe and welcoming space for sharing friendship, support and ideas in living with depression.

Groups are facilitated by volunteers with personal experience of depression and you’re welcome to find out more about this group after the Public Meeting.

Self help groups aren’t the same as therapy (although they can have a therapeutic value) but they can be a fun and uplifting way to meet new friends, helping to end the isolation and loneliness of depression. They also work toward bringing an end to the stigma associated with depression and to raise awareness of what it means to live with it.

 Step 4:

Setting up of local campaign to promote the support groups and the broader help/advice/guidance channels available to residents that many may not be aware of.

We urge anyone who may be able to help in some way or may be seeking help, support and information to attend this Public Community Meeting and work toward making sure that local people are supported now and for the long term.