Luton Community Housing

Open Minds

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Opening up to a brighter future

One in four people experience psychological distress and this figure is even higher among more vulnerable people. So we're thrilled to be involved in Open Minds. A community project, it offers talking therapies for vulnerable people living in hostel accommodation, or those at risk of being made homeless, in the Luton and Dunstable area.

Open Minds is the result of a partnership between Luton Community Housing, the University of Bedfordshire, Mary Seacole Housing Association and Signposts Luton. Now in its second year of a three-year programme funded by The Big Lottery, with a grant of £278,000 over the whole programme, it's helping people to move on by opening up.

The kind of issues Open Minds can help with include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, relationship problems, low confidence and issues from childhood. People who can be helped by the therapies may be experiencing:

  • Intrusive thoughts, memories or flashbacks.
  • Nightmares.
  • Avoidance of social situations.
  • Anger and intense emotions.
  • Fear and panic.
  • Alcohol or drug misuse.

They're the type of problems that can have a profound effect on how people live their lives and how successful they can be in living independently. By talking and being listened to, and exploring their challenges with a trained counsellor, they can begin to feel less stuck and more able to overcome their problems.
As 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14, Open Minds also works with the children's service. It provides therapies for many unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Luton who have fled war-torn countries and been separated from their families and previous way of life.

Positive Results

To date, we've received 113 referrals, 19 people have completed therapy and 18 are in therapy.

After using the Open Minds service in the first year of this programme:

  • 11 clients reduced their interpersonal problems.

  • 9 clients reduced their levels of victimisation or antisocial behaviour.

  • 3 clients with no employment pre-therapy secured employment.

  • 2 clients who weren't in education or training before therapy went into fulltime education/training.

  • 3 clients who were in education/training before therapy progressed well with their studies.

One customer who's used the Open Minds service says:


It's been very useful. Thanks to Pat I feel a lot more positive and confident and with exercises a lot more relaxed.

Mary Seacole Housing Association
University of Bedfordshire
National Lottery Funded