Riversdale is a lifeline for when life gets tough

Volunteers, staff and group members of the Riversdale Centre with Lady Kay Fisher and Fiona McNish f

Volunteers, staff and group members of the Riversdale Centre with Lady Kay Fisher and Fiona McNish from Rethink Mental Illness - Credit: Archant

Life can be tough. Bills to pay, children to look after, health concerns, and pressures at work can all get on top of people.

And if you have mental health issues or drug and alcohol problems, all those stresses and strains are only amplified.

So where do you turn when it all gets too much?

That’s where places like the Riversdale Centre in Tanner Street, Thetford come in.

The centre acts as a haven and retreat for people with a variety of issues, offering a place to relax and a chance to chat with understanding volunteers.

Its beautiful riverside setting in Thetford’s town centre is a serene and peaceful getaway.

And it has to be.

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As Pauline Quadling, centre manager, says, it deals with people with what can be severe anxiety, stress and emotional problems.

But through its counselling work, the centre has given scores of people a new lease of life in its 20 years.

And in some cases, it has literally been a case of life and death.

“If we weren’t here, some people would be dead,” Mrs Quadling said.

“We have shut down before and a woman killed herself - we were all in shock.

“The people who come here can be very fragile and the centre offers them a lifeline.”

Recent work has included the running of an Improve Group following a funding grant from Rethink Mental Illness.

The £2,500 grant allowed the centre to put on a group which helps rebuild self-confidence and reintegrate people into everyday activities.

The group has already seen success, with participants getting back into paid work and others growing in confidence.

Mrs Quadling said its work is vital: “What we do is give them a place to come where people understand. For some it’s hard enough to get out of bed so to have this is vital for them.

“In a caring society, it’s not much to ask for.”

The group runs from 10am to 2pm every Thursday and participants pay a subsidised rate of £3.