Quing, the mental health charity, is based in the old St Thomas’ school on Finch road. The décor is shabby, with the remnants of the school still apparent. The furniture is mismatched; two grand looking olive chesterfield sofas alongside a plaid-patterned sofa, which is falling apart. Yet there is something incredibly reassuring about this décor; to know that the charity, which was founded in 2017, hasn’t injected its money into looking flashy, but into providing vital and progressive services. And it’s not just the décor that makes me feel comfortable; I am welcomed by Graham Clucas, the CEO and Helen Morrison, whose warmth is immediately obvious.
“Quing is a therapeutic community and an education centre, but it’s main focus is improving well-being through social communication and empowering people by recognising developing their strengths”, Helen tells me. She emphasises to me that, despite misconceptions about mental health charities, the services available aren’t just for people who have severe mental health issues- Quing’s services are for “anybody who wants to improve and grow as a human being- that’s to say that [they] want everybody”. In fact, you don’t have to be suffering at all, you’re encouraged to come down even if you’re simply curious about finding out more about yourself. Quing is based on a social model in which connection is paramount. The more people who develop skills, the more individuals within the Manx community can grow, relate, empathies and have positive relationships with themselves and other people. “Ultimately, what we really want is to not exist anymore: for people to be able to be independent”.
Quing consists of a community site, workshops, groups and one-to-one therapy. The workshops aim to help individuals grow by focusing on development, awareness, and understanding relationships. Previous workshops have included learning about transactional analysis, embodiment, and growth. It becomes apparent in my chat with Helen that Quing’s approach is focused on community, through developing individual’s skills to create connections in the outside world. It’s about treating people like people, opposed to diagnoses. It’s about what’s learnt within the Quing environment and bringing it to the outside so that “people can have meaningful and fulfilling lives, and feel as though they belong”. Helen recognises that social isolation- a consequence of modern life- has “all sorts of health risks; not just mental but also physical. Social isolation is a big killer [especially] in the elderly, and that’s why it’s really important that we reconnect”.
Quing are doing important things, and it’s a really exciting time for them. They hope that in the future, they can expand their education centre to provide qualifications and teach transferable skills that can help with financial difficulties. They also are awaiting funding for a pay-as-you go community café. While they do get help from the Manx lottery fund, they are reliant on donations.
On Sunday 23rd, they are holding a fundraising car wash from 10-4, which will include an acoustic Foxtrap set from Quing’s own Helen Morrison, some banging DJ sets, and some catering. There will also be an opportunity to chat with the team, if you’re nosy and wanting to find out what Quing is all about.