Our News

There are so many wonderful things that happen at Motivated Minds, and here are just a selection of good news stories of the amazing work that takes place in our community. 


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   Motivated Minds are a lifelong wellbeing provider who believe in supporting people of all ages and giving them various tools to live healthier and happier lives.  

A British Citizen Award for our Managing Director, Carla.

We are incredibly proud to announce that our Managing Director, Carla Andrews, is to be presented with a British Citizen Award, an honour in recognition of her hard work and commitment to the health and wellbeing of others. 

Carla founded Motivated Minds in 2010 to challenge the stigma attached to mental health, and provide meaningful tools and guidance to empower local people to create positive change in their lives. However, Motivated Minds wasn’t always the successful non-profit business you see today; Carla has fought through years of hardship to build a vibrant, sustainable service supporting thousands of local people along the way.

It is her compassion and determination that drives Motivated Minds forward enhancing the lives of those we work with and this recognition is very gratefully received.

Posted 2 weeks ago

We are excited to say that we have moved into our new Happy Hub in Eastgate Shopping Centre, Basildon! We are on the look out for volunteers to help run the Hub and coordinate wellbeing activities, and skilled professionals to help renovate the space ready for use too!

Our Managing Director, Carla, said “our amazing team of volunteers have done an incredible job of cleaning, and painting the space, but with some more profound work still needed, we are looking for skilled professionals that might be able to lend a hand, or businesses that can donate items for the Hub.”

She continued “We have already had an amazing offer for support to install a new kitchen which we hope will go through, but with so much still to do we would like to invite tradesmen to pop in and get involved in our wonderful community project”

The unit that was previously occupied by Trespass, an outdoor clothing store, is being transformed into our new Basildon Happy Hub and will be open for wellbeing activities such as meditation, positive mental health courses and youth support. There will be private counselling rooms available, a community cafe area, and an upstairs conference space for courses and networking events, but it is first in need of a face lift.

As well as volunteer tradesmen we are looking for general help to run the shop and coordinate wellbeing activities.

If you are interested in volunteering call Carla on 07846 209846 or email carla@motivated-minds.co.uk. If you would like to make a donation to support our new Happy Hub visit: https://localgiving.org/charity/motivatedminds/project/HAPPYhub/

Posted 3 weeks ago

Men’s Health Week 2020

Men’s Health Week is celebrated annually during the week leading up to Father’s Day to raise awareness of health issues that predominantly affect men, and this year the focus is around managing men’s mental health during Covid-19. 

This year’s campaign comes at a time where many are struggling from social isolation, and a complete break in routine, and we want men to know that their mental health really matters, especially in times of crisis!

Male suicide is being described as a ‘silent epidemic’ and is the highest cause of the death in men under 45, and Carla Andrews, our Managing Director, said mental health services must become more appealing to men if they are to successful engage with them and save lives.

She continued “men and women cope with stress very differently, and a lot of traditional 'talking therapies’ are naturally suited more to women who often feel more comfortable opening up about their mental health.”

She added “We have specific services at Motivated Minds like our MEN'd programme that appeals more to men, and creates a supportive working environment, and we want men to know they don’t have to suffer in silence.”

To commemorate Men’s Health Week, we sent three large HAPPY Boxes for 150 workers at Basildon Borough Council to remind the male workforce that their mental health matters. Each box contained fruit, chocolate treats and Coronavirus Wellness Journals full of practical tips to manage stress and anxiety during uncertain times. 

If you would like to order a workplace wellness delivery you can get in touch with Carla at Motivated Minds on 07846 209 846, or email carla@motivated-minds.co.uk

Posted 6 weeks ago

Computers donated to help families home-school

With one in three children owning their own tablet, online learning platforms are getting more popular and schools have been relying on them throughout the lockdown to help parents home school. However, with 4 million children predicted to be living in poverty, the assumption that a child has access to a tablet or laptop to work from is a big one!

At Motivated Minds we are supporting the most vulnerable members of the community during these trying times and are supporting countless families through our emergency food bank, and we were elated to receive a donation of computers from Clear Thinking IT for families that need them.

Managing Director, Carla Andrews said “ Technology is a wonderful way for children to stay connected and access important school lessons, and everyone should have the opportunity to participate in meaningful home-schooling during the current lockdown. When we received a call to say that seven refurbished computers were being donated, we were over the moon, as we know that for some, the purchase of such equipment is impossible”.

Carla continued “These computers have gone to very worthy homes and have made the lockdown a little less stressful for those families, and we cannot express our gratitude enough for this kind donation.”

The Motivated Minds emergency food bank in Laindon is at King Edward Community Centre, and is open on Monday, Wednesday from 3pm - 6pm. For more information call Carla on 07846 209846, or visit www.motivated-minds.co.uk.

Posted 7 weeks ago

“...it has changed my life.”

Losing a spouse is devastating, but when Lindsey lost her Husband last year after just a short illness, her world understandably crumbled. She had suffered with PTSD and anxiety for 14 years (which followed trauma in her mid 20’s) and just like the perfect storm, her health erupted into an inconceivable crisis that left her suicidal and at the lowest point in her life. 

Suicide was responsible for the death of 6,507 people in UK in 2018, and as Lindsey looks back on a time that could have seen her life reduced to just another statistic, she reflects on what she has learned with her newly found passion for life. She said “I understand that I may still have dark days, and I need to keep myself safe during these times and remember that tomorrow is another day.”

But Lindsey’s journey away from death’s door hasn’t been easy. After an 8 weeks stay at Basildon Mental Health Unit she was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and discharged after making ‘sufficient progress’, but she had to return to her matrimonial home with very little support around her and was still suffering intensely with her mental health and isolation. 

She recalls “Following my discharge from the unit I was assigned a Care Worker and was able to move back to my home where Paul and I lived, but with no family around me I continued to struggle with negative thoughts and finding a purpose in living.”

She continued “I was given a leaflet about Motivated Minds and the Happy Hub based in Basildon, and after 3 weeks I found the courage to visit.  This was very stressful for me but the best decision I made as it has changed my life.”

Since visiting the shop and meeting the team, Lindsey hasn’t looked back. She is now a valued volunteer helping countless other people on their journey through recovery.  She added “Motivated Minds have given me a purpose to live, given me the opportunity to rebuild my confidence and find out who I am, and motivated me to stay active too”

Carla Andrews, Managing Director said “Volunteering is such a great way of rebuilding your life after a stumble, but Lindsey has overcome so much more than just that, she has built herself up from rock bottom and is an absolute inspiration to the people we support.”

Carla continued, “for Lindsey, our Happy Hub is a safe space that helped her recovery and has given her back her fighting spirit, but for us she is a vital piece of our puzzle and gives real hope to those in a dark place. She is committed, hard working, and a wonderful character bringing joy to our Hub. That’s the beauty of volunteering, everyone benefits, and the positive ripples it creates changes lives!”

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering and takes place every year between 1-7th June. If you would like to volunteer with Motivated Minds get in touch with Carla on 07846 209846. From tradesmen to help renovate their new Happy Hub in Eastgate, to volunteer counsellors, and Walk 4 Wellness leaders, they have a role for everyone.

Posted 8 weeks ago

“When someone says 'Jo what you said has really helped me', it still astonishes me”

As well as the emotional challenges that raising a family brings, stay at home Mum, Jo, found herself needing to overcome an unhealthy dependency on alcohol, but with 24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drinking over the recommended guidelines, Jo wasn’t alone. She recognised that she needed to take control of the problem before it completely took control of her, and after receiving help from several agencies she completely turned her life around.

However her journey had left her feeling battered and bruised and she admits feeling like her mental health took a hit from years of turmoil. Whilst feeling more stable, she soon found herself in a mundane cycle of school runs, housework and food preparation and now with a clear head, her sobriety left her with a thirst for life.

Whilst research suggests that stay at home parents are more likely to report depression than their employed counterparts, finding work that fits in around childcare can be problematic, and that’s why Jo decided to look for a voluntary role that would complement her family arrangements, not challenge them, and help her to finally move away from her demons.

She said “I had worked up to being 4 years sober when I decided I wanted more for myself so I hunted out some volunteer work. I searched through various organisations and came across Motivated Minds, I thought ‘brilliant that’s a bit of me’ especially considering they were offering all the help I had just been receiving and more.”

She recalls “I was so nervous on my first day, I could only muster up the courage to serve teas and coffees to the staff members, but slowly I took on extra work.”
Despite her evolving role, there was still one thing that Jo couldn’t do, and that was drive. But over time it became increasingly apparent that this was a much needed role, so she saved up enough money to complete an intensive week long course and took her theory test too. She failed her first theory but didn’t let it get her down, she said “I had been trying to learn to drive since I was 18, but this time I had a real purpose and motivation to try again as I knew passing my test would make a huge difference to my role at Motivated Minds.”

Jo soon passed her theory and practical test and to this day being a volunteer driver is proving vital to Motivated Minds as she currently collects food donations for their food bank at least twice a week. 

But driving is just one of the many personal goals that Jo has achieved since volunteering at Motivated Minds. In 2018 she joined the team in Wales to climb Mount Snowdon after months of training and emotionally preparing for such a big challenge. She said “Climbing that mountain was the most physically and mentally challenging thing I had been through (apart from getting sober). Climbing this mountain was more than just walking up a hill for me, it was the most special, amazing, liberating feeling standing at the top of the mountain….AMAZING !!”

After the challenge Jo returned to Essex with a new sense of confidence and pride which has since enabled her to participate in long distance learning. Despite 'failing’ school, she has now completed a Level 3 in Mental Health and Level 2 in Understanding Autism, Challenging Behaviour and Mentoring, which has not only helped within her voluntary role, but because both her children are autistic, she has grown as a parent too which has had a positive impact on her home life. 

Not content with all that she had achieved, the sky really was the limit as Jo made the bold decision to take on a skydive raising over £200 for Motivated Minds whilst falling fearlessly from a great height! Carla Andrews, Managing Director of Motivated Minds said “Jo has made a spectacular transition from stay at home Mum shackled to modern day unhealthy coping strategies, to a courageous individual inspiring others to reach new heights.”

She continued “not only am I incredibly grateful to Jo for her hard work and dedication but I’m very proud to have had the privilege of being part of her journey. At Motivated Minds we want to see people overcome barriers and achieve great things, and Jo has done this in abundance. She is a real inspiration, and her journey has only just begun!”.

Jo now leads a weekly support group called 'A Cup Of Kindness’ which is followed by a craft class delivered by her Mum who is always there for moral support - which Jo admits helps a lot with her anxiety. She said “I get a lot from helping and relating to others, I have been there so I know how it feels and I want to be a wellbeing champion who whole-heartedly believes in people.”
She added “I still to this day find it strange when someone says 'Jo what you said has really helped me’, it still astonishes me.”

Carla concluded “Jo has been at Motivated Minds for nearly 3 years and has taken her voluntary role by storm. While some give a little, Jo has given everything, and this has transformed her life. All we can do is provide opportunities for our team to grow, develop, and meet new people along the way, it is Jo’s passion and drive that has led her to get the most from volunteering with us, and we look forward to more life changing successes over the coming years.”

Jo added “I owe a lot to Carla for seeing so much potential in me, she sees more than just my diagnoses, and sees beyond my past, she has always just treated me with kindness and respect. She helped me realise that I have the tools, I just needed the help to find them and to be shown the ability to use them and I haven’t stopped since”

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering and takes place every year between 1-7th June. If you would like to volunteer with Motivated Minds get in touch with Carla on 07846 209846. From tradesmen to help renovate their new Happy Hub in Eastgate, to volunteer counsellors, and Walk 4 Wellness leaders, they have a role for everyone.

Posted 9 weeks ago

Life After Lockdown

It’s been 9 weeks since Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown and just as light appears at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, it seems that the positive news is curiously having a detrimental effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Although the UK watched on for weeks as other countries tackled the pandemic ahead of us, nothing could quite prepare us for the harsh reality of a national lockdown. What followed Boris’ announcement on the 23rd March was weeks of fear, anxiety, and a drastic change to life as we knew it. 

Schools closed, businesses closed unless they were deemed as ‘essential’, shopping was rationed, and homes were on lockdown only leaving for an hours exercise per day. 

We missed birthdays, funerals, and stood on our doorsteps in solidarity at 8pm every Thursday to thank our keyworkers who were keeping the UK afloat. We always knew it wouldn’t last, yet the fear of returning to 'normality’ seems to be filling people with more dread than the news of the lockdown itself! But after weeks of adjusting to a new 'safer’ way of living, is it any surprise?

Any kind of withdrawal or isolation is likely to result in a loss of confidence as we become unfamiliar with what once was the norm. Weeks of watching how the virus (that has now been attributed to over £37k deaths in the UK) can be avoided by staying safe at home has been entirely flipped upside down as we venture back out supposedly safe in the knowledge that there is now room in hospital should we fall sick. 

Whilst inevitable, this transition for many is daunting and playing havoc with anxiety levels. Whilst some are flocking to open spaces to enjoy the outside for the first time since the social restrictions were in place, others stay safe behind closed doors too terrified to undo the good that has taken place so far. Whilst the journey towards life after lockdown will be unique for everyone, one thing we can agree on is that we must all somehow take a step in the right direction.

Photo credit: Your Southend News and Media Website

Because some have been seriously affected by the pandemic, whilst others may have found working from home and enjoying a slower pace of life a welcome change, we want to bridge the gap and ensure everyone transitions safely. To do this, our Therapeutic Lead, Sarah, has devised a short, snappy introduction to Managing Anxiety that she will be delivering online next month to help anyone feeling overwhelmed about the post lockdown transition. This free 3-week course will take attendees through coping strategies, and techniques to combat anxiety and improve wellbeing.

Our first course has already had a great response, but if you could benefit from support for your anxiety, or you know someone who could, please do get in touch. We have a handy Coronavirus Wellness Journal available too which also has handy hints to keeping safe and well during the current climate. 

However quickly you get to life after lockdown, however bumpy your path is, we are here to make it that little but smoother.

Posted 10 weeks ago

Support from the One Green Bottle Bikers is a ‘Triumph’

We have been overwhelmed by the camaraderie of local motorbike group, One Green Bottle Bikers, who are now helping us to deliver food parcels to vulnerable residents across the Basildon Borough. 


The One Green Bottle Bikers are  a group of friends that share a love for motorbikes and usually meet in Battlesbridge, Essex. However, due to the lockdown they are putting their social circle and bikes to great use by being emergency Coronavirus Crisis Volunteers for Motivated Minds.

Biker friends Mandi and Sean first suggested the idea to fellow riders after reading how the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club in London mobilised their community into a volunteer rider’s group, to provide free courier-style services to support the fight against Covid-19. The Bike Shed partnered up with Team Rubicon UK, the disaster response unit, and Gophr Couriers to recruit hundreds of motorcycle volunteers nationally to get PPE, vital medical equipment, food and much more out to those most in need.

However, with most of the work being based around London these kind-hearted bikers wanted to volunteer locally and help the community they care so very much about. 

Mandi explained “We wanted to share our passion and help the community and this is a great way to do that.”


She added “We get to go out on our bikes, doing what we love, but helping out at the same time!”

Carla Andrews, Managing Director at Motivated Minds said “this kind of support means the world to us and those we are supporting. What a wonderful way to have emergency supplies delivered, I can only imagine the smiles on people’s faces as their shopping and medication turns up at the hands of such iconic community characters.”

She added “this fantastic biker movement helps those feeling lonely and isolated during the lockdown to know they are not alone. We’re all in it together, and our biker volunteers are helping us stay connected with those most at risk, and safeguard some of the most vulnerable people in our community too.”

If you would like to join the fight against Covid-19, you can make a donation to help here, or to get in touch with Carla call 07846 209846 or email carla@motivated.minds.co.uk.

Posted 11 weeks ago

Guest blog from Wellness Advocate, Christina Barter.

You may not be able to control what is happening at the moment, but you can learn to control your emotional response. 

 I have been a Wellness Advocate for over 5 years now and have found an array of natural ways to take control of  emotions, improve mental wellbeing, and lead a calmer, happier life. From exploring the use of essential oils and the vast health benefits they bring, to practicing Tai Chi, yoga and even Indian Head Massage, it is important to me that I reach out and help people build a more natural and positive lifestyle. 

I am a Mum to six wonderful children, but being a parent can be stressful so I know all too well how daily life can take its toll on your wellbeing. But with only 43% of people suffering from stress and anxiety utilizing alternative therapy I often ask myself what stops people getting additional support? 

 It’s no secret that lavender can be calming and aid sleep; manufacturers have been adding it to cushions, and microwavable teddies, to bring comfort to the consumer for years! But what if you had the knowledge to be able to use essential oils in all aspects of your life? From a zesty lemon mood boost when you’re feeling low, to a peppermint pick me up when you’re feeling tired, essential oils have a wide range of health benefits. PLUS they can be a great addition to any home, who doesn’t like fresh fragrant linen for example? 

I hold free weekly online classes and can help you to know your Ylang-Ylang from your Jasmine, and really understand how to use essential oils meaningfully and of course, safely. Many people can be skeptical about alternative therapies, but the proof as they say is in the pudding. So join me on a Tuesday night and have a taste and prepare yourself for an array of immediate health benefits! 

You will find my Facebook group here and join in with my free weekly classes too!

Yours in health and wellbeing, 


Posted 12 weeks ago

We’re stronger together

While news circulates that fast food chains and pubs consider re-opening their doors, work in Essex to ensure local families have access to essential food continues because for many, the Coronavirus has caused additional financial hardship making everyday food worryingly out of reach.

The UK economy is fragile with a drop in sales and furloughed workforces leaving businesses short, but this hasn’t stopped them doing what they can to help keep people safe and well during the pandemic. With vulnerable people self isolating, and under-privileged families struggling for income, the support from local businesses is proving to be a life-line and really helping us to support more and more people every day.

We have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of our local businesses and would like to extend our thanks to our community partners too. Our volunteers are working hard to help people in crisis, but this would not be possible without the phenomenal support we have received.
Carla Andrews, Managing Director of Motivated Minds said “You can measure the strength of a community when a crisis hits, and we have seen remarkable unity in the Basildon Borough.”

She added, “from food donations from Asda and Tesco, to financial support from Essex Association of local councils (CIF) and Essex Community Foundation to name just a couple, it all helps us continue our work within the community, and proves that we are stronger together.”

Our new Motivated Minds emergency foodbank in Laindon has now supported over 150 households since it launched at the beginning of April and we have supported 141 people with food parcels and medication, but without ongoing community partnerships, this wouldn’t have been possible. We are incredibly grateful to our volunteers and supporters for their continued support.

To find out how you can support Motivated Minds, contact Carla on 07846 209 846 or email carla@motivated-minds.co.uk. 

Posted 12 weeks ago

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HAPPY Hub, Eastgate Shopping Centre, Basildon, Essex, England.

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