Mental health café sparks excitement at NHS recruitment day

NHS staff were treated to a taste of Sparky’s on Saturday as the café opened its doors for the first time to prospective hospital staff during a recruitment event in Blackpool.

Sparky’s, the new community café from Richmond Fellowship, is being set up to challenge mental health stigma by providing a space for health and well being advice, social inclusion as well as quality food and drink.

The café team, based at the new Harbour hospital in Blackpool, provided refreshment for more than 150 prospective staff at a recruitment fair organised by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust which will run the new 154-bed facility.

Catering manager Martin Quinn was thrilled with the feedback. He said: “Everyone was very impressed with the service we provided and really got behind what Sparky’s stands for. We cannot wait to get up and running, providing a full menu to customers as well as local employment opportunities and a space to challenge mental health stigma.”

Sparky’s café will provide apprenticeships for students from local colleges and employment opportunities for individuals with lived experience of mental health problems.

Wendy Baylis-Wareing, regional manager for Richmond Fellowship, said: “We’re thrilled with the success of Sparky’s on Saturday and the feedback we received from everyone who came along to try us out.

“Sparky’s provides a welcoming atmosphere where people can go for a relaxing chat with friends and learn more about mental health and the ways we’re striving to make recovery a reality. We want the simple act of having a snack and a chat to be a platform for challenging mental health stigma and helping people feel a valued part of their community.”

Sparky’s café will open for business in Spring 2015 when The Harbour opens to patients.

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