Well, we’ve done it!  We’ve moved into our new office on the Scotch Estate in Jarrow

We first visited the premises a couple of months ago and, as usual, things like the lease took some time.

Ever since our lease expired at Cookson House in South Shields, the whole team has been home working, or cramming ourselves into the room at Big Local in Jarrow.  When Head Office encouraged our service to seek permanent office accommodation, we were very enthusiastic to say the least.

So, lease signed, we now had a room.  A big, empty room!  No furniture, no printer, no nothing, but a wonderful room!

Fran took to social media and somehow found a very generous company in Washington, who were giving away free cupboards, filing cupboards and even a sofa and coffee table.  “Shy bairns get nowt”, so they say, so when Fran spotted a photocopier, she asked if that was going free too …. Success!

The office is primarily for internal use, but we can’t waste such a large space, so there will be one or 2 groups or courses on-site during 2023.

Here’s a photo of the room when we 1st got our new furniture in – the plan is to keep you ‘furnished’ with updates on our progress, as we paint the room and make it our own.


Our new Winter activities are here:  Winter Activities 2023


Positive Pens – What A Way To Spend A Monday Afternoon

This lovely group had its inaugural session yesterday.  Led by Jayne, a published author and volunteer, I was originally there to co-facilitate but, before I knew it, I was thrown into a world of imagination and creativity.

I chose first to write about a pylon – the rest of the group were writing about animals, so where this independent streak came from, I really don’t know!  My pylon could see the Blackpool Tower and watched 4×4 drivers using the ancient legal byways (yes, Fran talking about Land Rovers yet again!)

Next the group chose to write about something you’d find in a kitchen – I found it truly cathartic to ‘unload’ the contents of my hubby’s ‘man drawer’.

We went on to write about our favourite colour.  Mine was ‘sky blue pink’ and I went to B & Q in my mind to pick some paint; I found it next to tartan paint in the end, on the next aisle to the ‘long weight’.

Thence it was onto the park with my two dogs.

The 90 minutes flew by and we all wrote a little feedback about the session.  I said “I had a virtual day’s holiday visiting the Lake District, the kitchen, B & Q and the park.  All the while not even taking a day’s leave.  Happy days 😊”

If you’d like to be a part of this friendly, easygoing group, don’t be frightened of ‘writer’s block’ – Jayne makes it so easy to be inspired, you’ll even amaze yourself.

To book your place, please call 0191 217 2935 or email – as usual, we’d love to see you.


Autumn Activities

Our new Autumn activities are listed below.

Autumn 2022 Activities updated





Did you know that we have an allotment?


On Friday 8th July we held our first allotment clearing day.

We recently acquired an allotment from the local council and were quite excited about having some outdoor space of our own.

I went to visit a couple of weeks ago and was amazed at the size of it, though I knew it would take quite a bit of work, as it was covered in glass, rusty old wheelbarrows, discarded plant pots and plenty of empty beer cans.


We started to plan a day dedicated to clearing the plot and there was plenty of interest from our Recovery College students and the community.

We were really lucky to have the offer of some volunteers from Sage who donate a portion of their time to local charities.


The allotment day quickly came around, and what a glorious, sunny day it was.  I was really pleased when our volunteers turned up one by one with their forks and spades.  Then at 10am along marched 16 Sage volunteers and we all got stuck in.


There was plenty of work for everyone, shifting broken glass, rounding up empty cans, clearing away years of overgrown bushes and tons of accumulated rubbish.  Everyone pulled together filling rubble bags.

In just a few hours, we could actually see the ground and the potential of the plot.





Unfortunately there was a problem with the skip and it didn’t arrive as expected.  But the Sage team came to the rescue.  They were brilliant and paid for a replacement which came that afternoon.  Then it was all hands on deck to get it filled with all our collected rubbish.


At the end of the day, we were tired, a bit red and quite filthy but we all had smiles on our faces when we looked over the plot and saw an amazing piece of land.  Not only was it clear, but some of the beds had been dug over and ready for planting.

Everyone said how much they enjoyed the day, even though it was hard work.   We had a great mix of people, some with lots of knowledge and experience, some just there to help out and be around others, but all had something valuable to give.  It was a great atmosphere and created quite a buzz with local passers by.


“We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and efforts to the day, including our wonderful students, staff, Sage Volunteers and Key to Life for the donation of our lunch.”







Or what we’ve been up to in Kind Mind Community this month? – it’s all very ‘exciting’ or ‘scary’ if you will!

So, to cut a long story short, we were asked if we (or I) would lead a break-out workshop at a CNTW conference this July.  The theme was to be peer support for people who have suffered trauma, and it was deemed appropriate that we should focus on our EUPD Support Group.

After lots of to’ing and fro’ing (and quite a lot of me saying “Angie, I can’t DO this”), we came up with the idea of following a group to demonstrate how it runs.  It was suggested that we do this by video, in case of anyone being indisposed on the big day.

So, a huge team effort transpired!  Senior Link Worker, Stephen, volunteered to take most of the video footage and we came up with a plan …

  • Me to tell my personal story of how I experienced peer support in the recovery college I attended back in the day, and how Kind Mind Community provide a peer support group for people with EUPD/Emotional Regulation challenges.
  • Interviews with key people in the EUPD group
  • Me explaining why the group was formed, and how it came about
  • A video session of the group running

Huge thanks go to the team, our volunteers and group members for all their help.

But, back to ‘imposter syndrome’.  It’s where you don’t think you’re good enough to do something, and I have it in spades 😉.  In fact, I said to a senior manager at work that she obviously thought I was much better than I really am!!!

So, using a little bit of knowledge I learned at a course last month, I knew I had to get into a ‘wise mind’ about this.  My rational mind said I would rise to the challenge, my emotional mind was shouting ‘you’ll make a fool of yourself’.  How could I reach a combination of rational and emotional mind?  In DBT, this is called “wise mind”.  So, I looked at the evidence – I’d been asked because of my enthusiasm and my knowledge of peer support – someone believed in me, so there was evidence to suggest I’d be able to do this!  Emotional mind was (and is!) scared, but I’ve been scared before and I’ve survived every day of my life so far, scary or not.

So, I’ve reached wise mind.  Even world-famous rock stars get stage fright, and there would be something wrong with me if I didn’t!  I also know I had to give a presentation to get my job role, and I got it.  Thirdly, and most importantly, I believe in the power of peer support and I’m really proud of how Kind Mind Community set up this particular peer support group, and I want to share the news with CNTW 😊.

The conference is later this month and I’ll let you know how I get on.  In the meantime, I’m viewing it with still some trepidation, but also excitement and I’m also looking forward to the sense of relief when it’s done.  I’m hoping that my imposter syndrome will decrease a little, but hey everyone’s human, right?I feel I know you all so well that it’s only fair that I’m open and honest and that I’m good at wearing a ‘mask’ like so many of us…

Wish me luck and I’ll ‘see you’ later in the month.


My experience of EUPD


I always doubted myself, I forever wanted to be liked and accepted, believing that these were life’s essentials to make me happy.  I never really thought about who I was or what my purpose was in life, but all that has changed recently.

I was diagnosed with having traits of EUPD (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder) around 3 years ago, and with this diagnosis came a lot of questions…

Why have I lived the life I have?

Why have made decisions on many things, that were bad for my wellbeing?

Why do I spend my time trying to fit into a world where I feel don’t I belong?

So, with my mind ticking, I set about educating myself on the real Amy.  What is it that makes me tick? What is it that brings anxiety to my life?

And what is it that causes me to question everything about myself, comparing my life to others and not appreciating the blessings I have in abundance?


I started to research practices that could help in answering my questions. I found that CBT, mindfulness and positive psychology can be beneficial, so I began to practice these techniques in my daily life. Through doing so, I started to notice and appreciate the little things in life that others may miss; like how the birds tweet at 6am, waking me up for the day and how music can lift my mood almost instantly. I stopped being so hard on myself for putting myself first at times and I was kind to myself in ways I’d not been before. I gave up alcohol for the most part, only drinking on occasion and instead of going out at every opportunity, I saved myself for big festivals or events, where my soul would come alive, and I’d feel at home surrounded by like- minded people who want to share love and positivity. I began to travel the country, with my children, or my friends and met people from all walks of life who fed my inquisitive mind and gave me a hunger to see the world through my newly found fresh eyes.


I have lost touch with some people through my change in lifestyle, but I have figured out who I am and where I fit along

 the way and for that I will sacrifice again.

More recently I have taken an interest in meditation, spirituality and nature. I have swapped my weekends in the house (thanks to lockdown making this the norm) for adventures in the countryside and I am amazed at the beauty we have around us. I am writing this blog whilst on a mini break with my loyal companion Poppy. A year ago, I would never have imagined going away on my own with my dog (and let me tell you I worried the Granny a little bless her heart), but having stayed overnight, hiked a mountain and walked around lake Thirlmere, I am feeling at peace. I have accomplished something, I have pushed boundaries and challenged some of my greatest fears head on. What I have learned on my journey is never to doubt how far you can go. Never set limitations on what you can achieve and always feed your thirst to be the best you that you can imagine. I still have a way to go, but I’m on the right track and now I know where I will be headed when I feel I’m struggling with my mind.

Throughout my own journey I have also been lucky enough to secure employment in which I can help others to improve their mental health and wellbeing. I am so passionate about mental health and wellbeing, knowing only too well the torment one can have with their own mind. I am so grateful that I can use my own experiences to encourage others to take the first steps into recovery and I hope my journey inspired others to step outside their comfort zone and reach for the stars.




Transgender People

in South Tyneside

Bea Groves-McDaniel has written a thoughtful, insightful and inspirational article on the issues faced by the Transgender community and calls for a ‘common strategy’ to address these issues.

We, collectively aim to provide somewhere which is nurturing, social, informative, campaigning,  relaxed and energising  for and with ‘trans folk’ in South Tyneside and need your help.  Get in touch if you would like to get involved in developing this safe space.

Make yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and have a good read.

Click here to open Transgender People in South Tyneside by Bea Groves-McDaniel May 2022


The Black Dog


I am blessed and cursed to be owned by 2 black dogs.  One is called Joey and he’s a 10 year old black Labrador Retriever,  who makes me laugh every day (except when he’s stealing my sandwich!)

The other ‘black dog’ is the one I share with the late Winston Churchill.


Now, if you know me, you’ll probably say I’m a bright and happy person.  Well, that wasn’t always the case and still isn’t, to some extent, today.

In the year 2000 I was made redundant from a job I loved, and my marriage was failing.  I’d found new employment, but it wasn’t the same as my old job.  I found myself crying in the office one day, just because an office junior was borrowing my desk.  I realised this was fairly irrational behaviour and went to the GP.  This is where my relationship with anti-depressants started.

Over the years that came, I finally received a diagnosis of EUPD too, but it was the depression that was causing havoc!

Many of us who’ve been on medication know that it’s not always easy to find the right drug (s) for you.  I suffered as I was titrated off one med and eased onto another.  I certainly wasn’t anywhere near ready to work – I was pretty much operating like a computer in ‘safe’ mode to be honest.

Luckily, with the help of my psychiatrist, I was put onto a combination of three anti-depressants that keep me (relatively) stable today.

Let me clear something up – anti-depressants are not ‘happy pills’ – they don’t magically make you happy.  For me, they kind of level off my moods, so I don’t feel desperately sad, but it’s not often I enjoy a real ‘belly laugh’ either.

During the few weeks since I started writing this blog, the ‘black dog’ returned good and proper.  With it came depression’s partner in crime … anxiety.  If you’ve suffered from depression and anxiety, you’ll probably not be able to say which one is worse.

So, what did I do when the depression re-emerged?  I licked my wounds so to speak, then got a phone appointment with my GP.  That went ok – although I’m on the maximum dosage of anti-depressants, there wasn’t a magic pill!  I got blood tests taken, which all came back showing I’m a healthy person.  So I started thinking about lifestyle:

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Connecting with other people and even sharing with people how I was feeling

And this is where Kind Mind Community’s new Depression Peer Support Group comes in – the 1st session was this Monday and it felt ok – it felt more than ok.  Sitting round the table with other depression sufferers, knowing I’m not alone, that others feel the same.  It’s not a depressing group, either.  There’s something about experiencing the illness alongside other people – getting hints & tips from them, sharing empathy and building strength and resilience, together.

The group isn’t meeting on Bank Holiday Monday, but is back on every Monday from 9th May, from 12-1 pm at Big Local, Jarrow.  I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone but, if you do have it, you’d be very welcome at this Peer Support Group.

Just to end on a quick thought, next time you ask someone how they are and they say “I’m fine”, just bear in mind they may be wearing a ‘mask’ – us depressives are good at that 😊




Kaleigh’s Top 5 Ways to Wind Down This Weekend

Heyyyy everyone and happy Friday!

Since the weekend is upon us, I thought it would be a good time to think about winding down and consider the different ways in which we all choose to relax at the weekend. I don’t know about everyone else, but after a busy week of this and that, I love nothing more than a little bit of ‘me time’.

So, what does link worker Kaleigh do to wind down at the weekend? I hear you ask. Well, here are five things I often do as a form of self care on my days off. Some of you may do similar things to relax and feel good, or you might find that your own self care and winding down routines are very different to mine and that’s great! No matter how you take that time to love yourself, if it leaves you feeling more relaxed and healthy, it’s worth doing!

Go Walkies

One of my favourite and most therapeutic wind down activities has to be taking my super cute dog for a walk. I think it’s safe to say that during lockdown, we all learned that spending time outdoors can be a super important factor in keeping both our body and minds healthy. I’m pretty lucky in the sense that close by to my home is a beautiful woodland and there’s a wonderful walking trail going through the woods that takes about an hour to complete.  It’s the perfect place for me to dust off  the cobwebs, get myself and my dog some exercise and just be at one with nature. This time of year is particularly beautiful as everything has began to bloom and the plants are once again beginning to flourish. I even managed to forage some wild garlic recently! But, even if you don’t live close to a cute little woodland like me, don’t worry… I’m sure there will be a beautiful green space close to where you live too. It might be a local park, a community garden or even a football field. You might be even more lucky and live by the coast. Wherever you go for a spring time stroll, enjoy the moment and take in that fresh air. I often walk around observing the trees and plants and just noting to myself how absolutely beautiful the world and nature around us really is. By the end of my walk, both myself and my super cute dog are always in better spirits.

Pamper Night

Another favourite self care activity of mine is just a good old pamper night. Picture this: Bubble bath, candles, face masks, healthy nibbles and some soothing music. I mean, what’s not to love? And anyone can do a pamper night, no matter what your age, gender or candle scent preference, you too can make your home feel like a 5 star spa! Face masks leave my skin feeling super smooth which in turn makes me feel fresh, glowing and confident.  A nice hot bubble bath is just sheer bliss and a chance just to let those stresses melt away. There are other ways to pamper at home of course and if you’re super lucky, you might have a special someone who can even give you a massage! Some people like to go all out and give themselves a manicure/pedicure, a nice feet soak… The pamper options are endless but the outcome is always the same… By the end of my pamper night, I always feel wholesome, fresh and relaxed.

Read a Little

Look, I’m no Matilda… I don’t read every day or even every weekend but, there are some occasions when reading feels like the perfect way to wind down. Reading has always been a form of escapism for myself and when this world seems a little too much, picking up a good novel and getting lost in a whole new world can be a great way to ‘switch off’. Disclaimer… I am a self confessed nerd so that world often turns out to be none other than the wizarding world of Harry Potter. I do love a good travel adventure as well though! Whatever your choice of book, taking time out to sit down, relax your body whilst exploring an exciting new world full of interesting new characters can truly leave you feeling inspired.

Call for a Catch Up

Is there anything better than spending an hour having a good old chin wag with a friend? I think not. My best

friend lives in Newcastle, and I’m here on the other side of the water so it’s not always easy to see each other face to face. That’s why, on the weekend, we always make a thing of calling each other for a good old catch up. We laugh together, we cry together, we reflect on the week we’ve had and just  be there for each other. After a phone call with my bestie, I always find myself feeling lighter, chirpier and connected. Will you be reaching out for a catch up this weekend?

Cooking up a Storm

Yes, that’s right… Cooking for some may feel like a chore, but in my house, it really is our ultimate wind down activity. Sundays are the best days because, well…. Sunday Roast! Now I can’t take all the credit here, my other half is a top cook and I’m more like, top sous chef. But still, spending a few hours in the kitchen creating a delicious Sunday dinner in my opinion is that much needed slow Sunday activity with the most delicious reward at the end of it (giant Yorkshire puddings are LIFE). Of course not everyone loves a roast dinner (though it should be the law, if you ask me), so choose something to cook that you truly enjoy devouring. Just remember though, if you decide to bake a cake, the team at  Moving Forward want a slice too!


I hope this gave you a little inspiration for your weekend ahead and some things you might want to do to take care of YOU.

Do any of you spend time doing any of the same winding down activities as myself on the weekend?





View from a Social Work Student

This week we’d like to introduce you to Emily, who is studying her Social Work degree with Northumbria University.  Emily is with us on placement for a few months.

So, Emily, what’s your favourite thing about Kind Mind Community?

I’d say the diverse people it attracts and the opportunity to co-facilitate courses.


What sort of roles have you undertaken in Kind Mind Community?

Co-facilitating and planning courses

Talking to students on the phone

Completing enrolment forms

Attending the Friday Drop-Ins

Being a peer supporter on courses


Did you know what a recovery college was before this?

I had no idea.  I wish everybody knew about them and the wonderful things they do.


Do you know what you want to specialise in when you complete your Degree?

I’m looking at mental health social work, or children & families.  I have to say though that

this placement has made me think about specialising in mental health. 


You leave us in a couple of months – what else do you want to achieve?

Leading a course in front of my Practice Educator. 

Seeing the difference in students between the start and end of a course.


On a lighthearted note, what do you like to do when you’re not at Kind Mind Community?

Go to the gym! 

And we all know how good physical exercise is to our mental health wellbeing, don’t we 😊

Thanks very much, Emily, for all of the hard work you do within Kind Mind Community and we wish you  the very best of luck with the rest of your studies and your subsequent career.






Blue Monday

Monday 17th January- the most depressing day of the year apparently. The festive season is over, that early Christmas pay is now withering away (if it hasn’t already), and all those unrealistic new year’s resolutions have been well and truly been shelved right alongside those size 10 gym pants you swore you were going to fit into and the long list of to-dos dating back to 2019.


Let’s change this pattern we slip into every year, make blue Monday no more! Let’s let the world in instead of shutting it out, lets reach out instead of bottling up. Do ONE thing, just one thing that you wouldn’t normally do, whether it be a 10-minute walk in the fresh and crisp January air, calling that friend you’ve been meaning to check in on that you’ve been putting off, or sorting out that dreaded cupboard that you haven’t seen the floor of since you moved in. No matter how big or small it seems, if it’s an achievement for you, it counts.

Here are some more great examples of things you can do to make blue Monday no more:

  • Start that book you’ve wanted to read.
  • Have a self-care day, wash your hair, shave your face, moisturize your skin- anything that makes you feel good.
  • Make a meal from that cookbook that you’ve never tried but always wanted to.
  • Grab a cuppa and a piece of cake with your favorite person, whether it be face to face or over zoom.
  • Sign up for that group you’ve been thinking about joining.
  • Reach out for help if you’re struggling.
  • AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…………………Be kind to yourself, you’ve made it this far, you can make it one more!








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