Town comes together to provide support

New support groups for people in Stone have been set up in the wake of the tragic deaths in the town this year – and they get under way from this week.

The dates were set at a public meeting held at the Crown Hotel on Monday evening (1st December), when 45 local people came together to make sure that extra help and support is available (a report of the meeting is further down this post).

Changes Young People’s Service
Wednesday evenings (which started on 3rd December)
Frank Jordan Centre, Lichfield Street
6.30pm to 7.30pm

This is a user-led peer support service for young people, providing emotional support for 16 to 25-year-olds in Stone. Changes provide a safe, confidential environment for young people to feel welcomed to discuss issues impacting their emotional wellbeing.

The group will allow young people to receive support, encouragement and advice at a time they need it, with no waiting lists. This provides young people with the opportunity to get help and to help others who may be experiencing similar issues.

For more information, please contact the Changes YP Team on 01782 413355 or email

Please note that the group will not meet on 24th or 31st December.

Depression Alliance, Stone Staffs (DASS) group

Friday 5th and 12th December, 7.45pm – 9pm
Frank Jordan Centre, Lichfield Street 

The group will then meet every Friday evening from the 19th – including Boxing Day – at St Michael’s community hall, also in Lichfield Street, from 7pm to 9pm.

Depression Alliance supports a national network of self help groups across England. The groups are open to anyone affected by depression and they provide a safe and welcoming space for sharing friendship, support and ideas in living with depression. Most groups are facilitated by volunteers with personal experience of depression. Self help groups aren’t the same as therapy (although they can have a therapeutic value) but they can be a fun and uplifting way to meet new friends, helping to end the isolation and loneliness of depression.

Help and support is also available from the Brighter Futures Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline. This offers free support to any adult living in Staffordshire in the evening and weekend on the phone, by email, by text and instant message online.

Call – 0808 800 2234
Text – 07860 022821
Web chat –

The helpline is staffed by trained support workers and is open from 7pm to 2am during the week, and 2pm to 2am on Saturdays and Sundays. The service is completely free to use, and is completely anonymous.

Please help us to spread the word about
the help and support that is now available.


The Public Community Meeting held at The Crown Hotel on Monday evening was attended by 45 people, made up of family members of some of the young people we have lost, and other concerned local residents, many of whom also work in healthcare, counselling, mental health services, youth services, public health and more.

Following a welcome and brief introduction by David Leech, three invited speakers addressed the meeting.

Joy Neal from Uttoxeter, representing Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS), presented a very powerful talk, “We Know it Happens, Let’s Talk About it” – relating her experience following the death of her 20-year-old son three years ago to suicide and gave great insights into the subject of how she and her family survived such a tragic event. It proved very thought-provoking and beneficial and many people in attendance gained a lot of support and help through hearing her experiences.

This was followed by a presentation by Charlie Odell from the Dove Service in Hanley, “I’m Listening, What Is It You Need Right Now? – she explained that The Dove Service offers counselling and support to those struggling with the impact of bereavement, significant loss, or life changing/limiting illness.

The third talk was a presentation by Ffion Brooks from Changes YPS who explained the services and support that they will be offering to the young people of Stone. The date and venue of their first group meeting was announced and details are given below.

After a short break for refreshments, there was an open discussion and a question and answer session where various suggestions and ideas were shared for possible future consideration.

One young person summed up the meeting this way: “I decided to attend the meeting as I personally have known most of the youngsters that we have lost this year and I have seen how it has affected both me and my friends around me. We believe it would be a great idea for our town to start a support group for the youth and others too, who have also suffered loss in recent months.”

She went on to suggest that such group meetings could reflect the lyrics from a song in the movie Toy Story, “You Got a Friend in Me.”

“You’ve got troubles and I’ve got ’em too. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you. We stick together and see it through. ‘Cause you’ve got a friend in me……You’ve got a friend in me”

In conclusion, David Leech said: “It’s wonderful to see how the community have pulled together to bring about the offers of support from individuals and various local agencies. The meeting definitely reflected the strong community spirit that the people of Stone have to offer. What is needed now, is for people to step forward and take advantage of the facilities and services that are being made available, especially for the young people in town.

“It is hoped that a local Information Sheet and Directory will be produced in the New Year, both in print and online detailing ongoing information relating to the support groups as well as including contact details of all the support and information services available in Stone and the immediate area.

“Finally, on behalf of everyone at the Meeting, I’d like to thank the owners of the Crown Hotel for providing the Holland’s Restaurant free of charge for us to hold the meeting and for the excellent help and service of their staff during the evening.”


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