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Student project supports people with mental health issues

A project to develop a community cafe to support the training and development for people with mental health issues has won top prize at the University of Portsmouth’s Business Consultancy Project Awards event.

Team Diversity won the Best Impact Award for their work with Mayfield Nurseries cafe, in Titchfield, and have since donated their £500 prize to the nursery.

They developed a working business plan for the café, which supports the development of people experiencing mental health issues with the skills necessary to move into employment.

The team undertook market research; visited a number of local cafes in the area for comparison; undertook social media analysis; and as the result of this research, devised menu plans, a programme of themed events and costed the redevelopment of the cafe, culminating in an operational plan. Using the team’s work, Mayfield Nurseries has already increased their income and are providing further opportunities for people with mental health issues to gain recognised skills in the workplace.

Additionally, Mayfield Nurseries has set up an Instagram account on Diversity’s advice and are starting to see younger customers using the Nursery to buy their houseplants and using the cafe as its development progresses. 

James Grout, Diversity Team Leader, said: "As a team we relished the challenge we were assigned. The project allowed us to use our initiative and express our capabilities. The module has taught us well and enhanced our development for the future.” 

Rachel Hampton, Head of Mayfield Nurseries who nominated the team for the award, said: “Team Diversity’s work reaches further than a financial impact on our social enterprise, as part of our mission is that no one should face a mental health problem alone. The more people we reach, the more people we can support through our mental health services and the more opportunities we can offer, means the more  our community is building up the skills and confidence necessary to live well with mental health issues.

“Having long-term mental health issues myself, I know how important employment is to your mental health and the role you play in your community. Through their work, we will be offering more opportunities to vulnerable people.”

The awards ceremony celebrated the work of 360 final year business students, in 74 teams working on their Business Consultancy Project (BCP) with clients from all types of organisations in the local area.

The BCP Module Coordinator, Peter Wainwright said: “The module gives the students vital employability skills, as each team designs and carries out a project that will have real impact on the client organisations and their customers.”

For more information about student projects at the University of Portsmouth, please contact studentprojects@port.ac.uk

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