Minding the past: The Mind Charity Shop in Taunton 1982
Mind in Somerset has had a long and storied history. This week Jean Grant, founder and former chairperson, takes us all the way back to 1982 to the opening of Taunton’s first Mind charity shop in Roman Road.
This is how we started, graduating from the Taunton Saturday market stall in the late 1970s.
At the time National Mind were promoting mental health support and understanding through the development of Nearly New shops, a subtle way of getting our message across and different to the popular concept of ‘charity shops’. also, clothes were still quite expensive so ‘recycling’ was more common.
40 years ago, people didn’t talk about mental illness, even now we have to encourage
discussion, which we do through our groundbreaking anti stigma campaign Time To Change Somerset, but it has become easier, there has been immense positive change.
The Roman Way site (which is today the home of N D Cycles) was chosen as it was not in the high street so rent and rates were lower and the shop could be seen by passing traffic. The young girl
in the photo is my daughter – who liked to help. The shop was run entirely by volunteers
with one paid manager by Mind who also undertook the lease.
After 3 years of running the shop we chose to evolve into setting up a mental health support group and the rest is history.
Author: Marc Lewis