Delight for Gordon as mental health project gets green light

Gordon Allan pictured during a countryside walk.
Gordon Allan pictured during a countryside walk.

A Ponteland man has taken a step closer to achieving his aim of a new Northumberland-wide support network for adults with mental-health issues.

Talking Matters and project partners Active Northumberland have been given £142,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England for a three-year period.

It is the brainchild of Gordon Allan, whose wife Sally died as the result of a private battle with mental illness.

The project, which aims to create links between organisations and clubs to improve the well-being, recovery and resilience of individuals through sports and physical activity, will start in the areas of Alnwick – covering as far south as Amble and as far north as Wooler – and Hexham.

Gordon hopes that it will eventually cover the whole of Northumberland.

Talking Matters, which provides the NHS Talking Therapy service, will employ two volunteer coordinators. The coordinators will recruit and manage the volunteers.

The fully-trained volunteers will provide one-to-one support to encourage the adults – who will be referred to them by Talking Matters and GP practices – to participate in a sport or physical activity.

Active Northumberland will work with the volunteers, sports clubs, leisure centres and other activity providers to identify suitable opportunities in the person’s local community. The recruitment process starts next month with advertising the three-days-a-week volunteer coordinator posts and the aim is for the project to start in March.

Northumberland County Council has awarded the project a grant of £30,000 and further financial support has come from Northumberland Sport and Hexham and Alnwick Town Councils.

Sally went missing on Boxing Day 2015. Her body was recovered from water near South Shields on February 3, 2016.

For project details, email gordon.allan915@btinternet.com