This is a charity that works with vulnerable and marginalised people from areas of multiple deprivation in Medway, Kent. Based at premises in Rochester, it aims to reduce isolation and improve health and wellbeing. The Octopus Foundation runs a weekly Men’s Shed which benefits mainly older men who are socially isolated, and face challenges such as living with dementia, PTSD, autism and other issues. The Shed operates via a carpentry workshop, and people make useful items such as bird boxes and garden planters. Attendees benefit from the social aspect of the Shed as well as meaningful activity.
A grant of £4,000 was agreed by Trustees at the June 2020 meeting. This will contribute towards the mental health and wellbeing project, and enable the charity to expand its operations to two days per week. The additional day will enable the Octopus Foundation to offer attendance at the Shed to younger and middle-aged men living with mental health problems, those at risk of suicide and self-harm. It has a waiting list of people referred for support. Outcomes of the work are that the men will feel happier, with improved confidence, skills and wellbeing; they will develop coping mechanisms to help with their mental health; and they will feel less lonely and socially isolated.