More people are turning to a mental health charity in Huddersfield for help and support.

Support to Recovery was formed nearly a decade ago after a merger between local charities Concern for Mental Health and DASH (Depression, Anxiety and Self Help).

Five years ago, it changed to become open access, meaning people no longer needed to be referred to it by their GP.

But that still often happens and this year alone, 94% of those referred to Support to Recovery by their GPs were new to the service.

The charity’s deputy manager Sian Smith said: “It’s really difficult to put a number on how many people come through our doors because we’re open access, but we know that 94% of referrals to us are new.

“People don’t need a referral though, they can come in and treat it like a shop – look at the art or check out the workshops.

“It’s all about making people feel comfortable about getting involved and their road to success.”

Support2recovery Deputy Manager Sian Smith

The charity offers a range of creative, outdoor and well-being workshops and courses.

It has its own gallery that gives artists the opportunity to showcase and sell their artwork, increasing their confidence and self-esteem.

Activities in the great outdoors include natural crafts, cooking, beekeeping, gardening and walks.

The well-being workshops and courses teach mindfulness, meditation and Reiki.

It also runs events to help people socialise and make new friends.

Support2recovery charity on Brook Street. Project workers Sumaya Fenton and Byron Jones chilling in the 'comfy corner'

Every room in the building, which is in Brook Street in the town centre, is fitted with bright light therapy boxes that treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

The lights are also in its cafe, which sells tea, coffee, hot chocolate, juice, crisps, fruit and cake.

Sian added: “I think that we suit people who realise they want to make changes to their life and they may not want to go to the GP or go on medication.

“One of our strengths is that we are not medically trained. If they have had a bad experience with being sectioned, they might just want to know someone cares and they will be treated with dignity and respect.

“They know that their own situation could be made better just by putting a little bit of effort in, for example if they are socially isolated.

“Quite often we have had people come in and they are a completely different person within six months.

“They brighten up, make eye contact and even run their own workshops. We can make a big difference in their lives, but no two people are on the same journey.”

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Artist Glen Williams has been attending art courses at Support to Recovery for a year.

His painting of a local homeless man has encouraged members of the public to approach him on Huddersfield’s streets.

Artist Glen Williams with his portrait of Rory

Glen painted a portrait of Rory, whose surname is unknown, as part of an artwork series exploring mental health issues.

The 60-year-old, who used to work as a graphic designer, said: “Rory is someone I’ve seen on the streets for some years. I always give him something whether it is money or clothing.

“I then did some sketches of him and based the portrait on those. I know Rory has seen it and likes it.”

Glen says Rory told him that people have recognised him from the portrait and now feel more comfortable approaching him to chat or offer donations of food.

It is currently on display at Huddersfield Art Gallery as part of Huddersfield Art Society’s annual exhibition, which is running until October 28.

Glen, a new member of the society, had his own mental health issues in the past and used art as therapy so wanted to use his skills to highlight local issues.

The first-time exhibitor won the society’s Prize for Creativity for his painting ‘Industrial Landscape 1’, which is still on display but has already been sold.

Support to Recovery is primarily funded by Kirklees Council and South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, including its Creative Minds project. It works in conjunction with several other mental health organisations.

To find out more about Support to Recovery and its work, visit: