An Eastbourne charity that supports people of all ages with mental health challenges has appointed a new patron.

Local businessman Tim Cobb takes on the voluntary role with Holding Space from Monday May 2. He will spend time getting to know the management team, the professional counsellors and the small army of volunteers who give freely of their time to support the hundreds of people who seek help every year.

Chief Executive Hansa Raja-Jones, who founded Holding Space nearly three years ago, said she was delighted at the appointment.

“Tim has taken a keen interest in our work and has been fantastic at making introductions to key people within the town,” Hansa explained. “I was delighted when he accepted the role of patron. It will help formalise the work he is already doing for us and help us raise our profile further across the county of East Sussex.”

Tim takes over from Josh Babarinde OBE, who stepped down earlier this year to focus on his political career.

Holding Space has grown rapidly since its inception in September 2019. Covid and lockdowns increased mental health pressures and the work of the charity has become ever more important.

“I have been privileged to see the essential role that Holding Space plays in Eastbourne and across East Sussex,” Tim said. “I first met Hansa through her work at the Eastbourne Foodbank, and I was hugely impressed by her commitment and dedication.

“When she set up Holding Space, I knew she would throw her heart and soul into making things better for parents, children and young people who struggle every day with their mental health and wellbeing,” he said. “I am honoured and delighted to take on the role of patron and I look forward to supporting Hansa and the team as they press ahead with their fantastic work.”

Hansa set up Holding Space as a result of her own journey caring for a child with mental health difficulties. The charity believes that educating, supporting and empowering families is crucial to the mental health of the next generation, along with early intervention and support.

The ethos of Holding Space is to provide a safe, non-judgmental, confidential space for parents and carers to come together; to be supported, to connect, chat and most importantly to know that they are not alone. The voice of the parent is paramount and no parent should walk this journey alone.

Holding Space offers a range of support services from Walk & Talk sessions, online and face-to-face parent coffee mornings, telephone support, low-cost counselling and yoga. The team at Holding Space

comprises local parents with lived experience, carers, qualified therapists and mental health practitioners. It works with parents and children to direct and shape Holding Space’s activities and services. It has a Board of Trustees to help with the governance and strategic planning.

The charity works closely with schools, colleges, NHS providers, children’s centres and local/statutory organisations.

“Our door is always open and we would encourage anybody with concerns about mental health to contact us,” Hansa said. “You can call us on 01323 315005, visit our website www.holdingspace.org.uk or email us at hello@holdingspace.org.uk.