Agenda item



Members received a presentation from Jane de la Rosa, Head of Communications and Business support, and Gemma Johnston, Marketing Assistant, in respect of Catalyst and in particular their mental health and well-being community football team, called The Welcome Wizards.

Catalyst was a Surrey-wide charity which provided mental health; and drug and alcohol services in a friendly, accessible and professional way. The organisation also worked in close partnership with the NHS service i-access to provide support for drug and alcohol misuse including recovery support and SMART groups. Catalyst also provided support at Mental Health safe havens which Catalyst helped to support in Aldershot and Woking.

Catalyst had always aimed to provide groups and activities as a way to allow clients to tackle mental health, substance misuse and wellbeing issues which they maybe struggling with. Recently this has included the Welcome Wizards initiative which had expanded pre-pandemic to include two teams in Surrey Heath and a separate team in Elmbridge. The Welcome Wizards was a community football team which aimed to support its players with mental health and wellbeing support.

Whilst the Welcome Wizards were unable to meet during the worst of the pandemic, they continued to meet online and risk assessments had allowed them to meet later on in the year. Whilst numbers of participants would be higher outside of the pandemic, since April the Welcome Wizards had still supported 22 people, including 16 from Surrey Heath.

During the pandemic Catalyst had continued to provide its other support services including via the telephone, online, outreach and some limited face to face work. Online support had included an online platform called the Catalyst BigBlueButton which centralised activities, counselling and family and friends support all in one place.

Arising from Members’ questions and comments the following points were noted:

  • Members were happy to pledge their support for catalyst and the Welcome Wizards, both in respect of endorsing their grant bids, as well as offering non-financial support.
  • There were opportunities for catalyst to bolster their marketing and communications which would in turn make their self-referral routes more accessible.
  • Residents did not need to be referred for Catalyst’s mental health and wellbeing services by an organisation or General Practitioner. In addition Catalyst aimed for the self-referral process to be quick and simple; which was exemplified in that self-referrals via the phone were always picked up by Catalyst member of staff. During the phone conversation, an online or telephone appointment would be scheduled to allow for a prompt assessment of the client’s needs.
  • Catalyst always offered their clients a service relative to their need and if their services were unsuitable for a potential client, they would sign post the person in need to other services.
  • Like other third-sector organisations, Catalyst experienced a lull in referrals at the start of the first lockdown.
  • Catalyst foresaw major challenges in the years ahead. Catalyst had worked closely with Surrey County Council and Surrey Heath CCG who both anticipated a large spike in the demand for mental health services in Surrey Heath in the future. This was coupled with an anticipated contraction in funding in the long term which meant Catalyst was looking to instigate flexibility in its future strategies and fundraising opportunities.


The Committee thanked Jane and Gemma for their informative presentation.



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