Wellbeing bank in pipeline

THE experts behind a ground-breaking new Hartlepool welfare scheme will meet within weeks to discuss the next steps.

The town could be the base for the UK’s first ever wellbeing bank. The scheme would see people with expertise in areas such as parenting, communication and education offering help to others on the verge of crisis.

The bank’s next steps could be taken by Christmas. By then, organisers hope to have met to discuss a strategy, an action plan and a potential venue to launch the project.

Organisers hope desperate members of the public would turn to the bank for help before their problems reach the depression stage.

The idea was the brainchild of creator Iain Caldwell, chief executive of Hartlepool and East Durham Mind, at a summit held at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience during Mental Health Week.

Seventy delegates turned up for the free conference called Depression The Global Crisis. They heard how depression was so prevalent, that it was set to become the UK’s second most disabling disease by 2020.

But instead of waiting for the world to take action, Iain came up with the wellbeing bank idea.

Mr Caldwell said: “People have already shown an interest in the plan. It is now one of those things where we will have to sit down and have a strategy, and look at how we can do it.

“It is time to reflect, and to make the time to get together. It is possible that this will happen in the next month or two. We always have more time around Christmas and that’s when we can put more time and effort into it.”

Depression is now so prevalent, it is set to become the UK’s second most disabling disease by 2020.

l Anyone wanting to help or find out more about the wellbeing bank should contact Mr Caldwell on (01429) 269303 or email iaincaldwell@starfishhealthandwellbeing.co.uk.