Mental health charity leaves Mind network to avoid being 'pigeonholed'

Kaleidoscope Plus Group will now be better placed to bid for contracts, says Monica Shafaq, its chief executive

Monica Shafaq
Monica Shafaq

A West Midlands mental health charity has disaffiliated itself from the national Mind network because it felt "pigeonholed" and wanted to expand its services.

The Kaleidoscope Plus Group, formerly Sandwell Mind, officially launches its new branding today.

Monica Shafaq, chief executive of Kaleidoscope, said in a statement that the charity had made the decision to disaffiliate so that it could broaden the scope of its services and its geographical reach.

It was a member of a network of more than 160 local Minds, which are affiliated to Mind but remain independent charities.

"Being part of Mind, and our name, had pigeonholed us into a solely mental health category and restricted us geographically both in the eyes of the local government commissioners and our service users," she said. "In reality, we were offering so much more; a whole-person approach that wasn’t being recognised."

Shafaq said the charity would now be better placed to bid for contracts. Its long-term aim is to work on a national level and go into partnership with other organisations, she said.

"As more funding cuts are inevitable, charities need to become more innovative and think in a more business-like way to survive," she said.

"There are lots of charities out there offering complementing services, and if they looked to partner with each other the possibilities for all parties are greatly increased," added Shafaq.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: "Sandwell Mind became an independent charity earlier this year so it could provide services to a wider area, including some neighbouring areas already served by other local Minds.

"We took the joint decision that the best course of action was for Sandwell to continue its service provision as a new entity."

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