‘Don’t suffer in silence ‘ - family of Dereham man Jordie Rae back fundraiser for mental health drop-in centre

Jordie Rae. Picture: The Rae family

Jordie Rae. Picture: The Rae family - Credit: Archant

The mother of a much-loved young man from Dereham who took his own life last year has backed a campaign for a drop-in listening centre in the town.

Lyn Milns who is fundraising for The Listening Project drop in centre in Dereham. Photo: Denise Brad

Lyn Milns who is fundraising for The Listening Project drop in centre in Dereham. Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

Tracey Rae, mother of Jordie Rae, who died in July 2017, has spoken out in support of youth worker Lyn Milns' plan to set up The Listening Post, a drop in centre for the town's young people who are in need of support.

Mrs Rae, 53, said: 'We lost our son when he took his own life.

'He was 28. His marriage broke down and he came home to us.

'We couldn't see it but he was heartbroken and we didn't realise how deep it went.'

Jordie Rae. Photo: The Rae family.

Jordie Rae. Photo: The Rae family. - Credit: Archant

Mrs Rae, a support worker from Dereham, added: 'I definitely think it will help people. Me and my sister have said we'll volunteer as listeners in memory of Jordie.

'He was such a great guy and we miss him so much.'

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Miss Milns, also known as 'Miss Why' has been a volunteer youth worker in Dereham for 15 years.

She and Martin Lee have been reaching out around the streets of Dereham and they had the vision for the Listening Post because a lot of young people are having challenges in their lives.

'There have been quite a lot of suicides and mental health issues.

'Getting the Listening Post is important to us both as over the years we have witnessed the struggles and been affected by the tragedies too.

'There needs to be somewhere for young people to go and talk if they need to. It's listening not counselling but we can signpost them to other services as needed.'

Miss Milns, 69, added: 'With mental health still having a crippling stigma surrounding it, people often find it hard to open up. Many people suffer in silence.'

The Listening Post is a new project run by the Love Dereham charity and has offers of volunteering, furniture and paint. Miss Milns has found a space in Aldiss Court.

She said: 'It's an ideal place as it's off the main high street, so young people won't feel like they could be ridiculed or in view of their peers for using the service.

'I'd love to open it for Christmas as that's normally a hard time but I need to fund the first year's rent to get us off the ground.

'The goal is to be open in the afternoons and evenings for people to come in after school, college or work, and to stay open late on weekend evenings. The long term goal is a helpline.

Here's how you can help raise the money:

• Crowdfund - anyone wishing to donate to the centre's crowd fund page for the first year's rent should visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thelisteningpost

The fundraiser has so far raised 1pc (£70) of the total £6,000 required for the first year's rent payment.

• Water bottle project - supporters of The Listening Post are collecting their spare change in empty plastic water bottles over Christmas.

The total will be counted up at an event at Dereham's Railway Tavern pub on Thursday, January 24.

• Volunteering - anyone who would like to volunteer as a listener or who can donate supplies or time to help fundraise and run the drop in service should contact youth worker and organiser Lyn Milns.

Email lyn.milns@yahoo.co.uk or telephone 01362 298365.

Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney (and Wellbeing Suffolk) can be accessed via 0300 1231503 or www.wellbeingnands.co.uk and the free Samaritans helpline can be accessed by calling 116 123 from anywhere in the UK.