East Kent Mind CEO David Palmer at Herne Bay Umbrella

Herne Bay Umbrella has merged with East Kent Mind to protect its services for local people

The charity has been in negotiation with the Mind charity, that serves the Canterbury district, for much of the year to find a way to save the centre located in William Street, Herne Bay.

The four part-time staff, led by Senior Session Worker Matt Healy, are now delivering services as part of the LiveWell contracts that East Kent Mind won this year, as well as providing day centre services for some of the town’s most vulnerable residents, many of whom have a mix of physical disabilities and mental health issues.

East Kent Mind Chief Executive Dr David Palmer (pictured above) said he was delighted Herne Bay Umbrella has become part of the local Mind family.

He said: “Our senior staff and Trustees worked with Herne Bay Umbrella Trustees to ensure plans were in place to protect staff, services and the clients supported once the merger was complete. I am delighted the transition has moved ahead so smoothly. This now means East Kent Mind has a larger presence in the town alongside our centres in Canterbury, Ramsgate and Whitstable.”

Herne Bay Umbrella has had a difficult time in recent years with Trustees publicly fearing for its future in 2016 when an operating grant from Kent County Council was cut. At that time a number of staff were made redundant.

Now the future is looking brighter for the centre. A refurbishment of the William Street premises is planned in the New Year which will include new signage on the outside of the building. To acknowledge the history and service to the town the new East Kent Mind branded centre is to retain the name ‘Umbrella’ above the door.

To find out more about East Kent Mind, visit www.eastkentmind.org.uk

East Kent Mind’s aims linked to incorporating Herne Bay Umbrella into the charity:

Aims to achieve our purpose

Mind in Bexley and East Kent will work with the Umbrella staff to:

  • Enable Herne Bay residents to make informed choices about their lives
  • Enable people to better cope with, manage and improve their own mental health
  • Provide access to fulfilling activities and valued roles in their community and provide outcome based measurable services
  • Provide safe and trusted services when people are most vulnerable including access for staff to clinical governance and up to date safeguarding processes
  • Improve awareness and understanding of mental health needs and challenge stigma locally

We will work hard to develop new services and funding streams, where appropriate in partnership, including exploring working in consortia in Herne Bay, East Kent, to ensure the sustainability and growth of Mind in the Herne Bay area and to meet changing individual, internal and external needs.

We will aim to develop services in line with our existing work in East Kent and aim to tender for Live Well contracts for services to start in April 2023.   We would start this process in October 2022. We will explore the possibilities of potentially expanding and developing existing successful services including our Revival model, goal-orientated mentoring, Peer Support and Recovery initiatives where funding opportunities are identified. We are also keen to explore and develop services for carers, personal health budgets for those who are eligible, promote physical health and green space activities and in the long term explore a low-cost counselling initiative.

We will to start with, undertake a deep dive into services currently provided and explore services locally, evaluate and research service provision in order to create new service models and review existing models that offer better value for money and are outcome-based services to commissioners, funders and service users. We will implement a new strategy for securing a sustained level of small grants, donations and local fundraising and link it to the Mind strategy.  All fundraising is undertaken by the CEO and key senior staff. We do not work with fundraising consultants.

We will work with existing staff to ensure everyone’s experience of Herne Bay services is of a consistent high quality and tailored to their individual needs. All aspects will be quality assured and will fall in line with the National MIND quality mark so that services are safe. Back-office functions will be undertaken in Bexley.


With the support of National MIND we will promote the merger as Mind in Bexley and East Kent in Herne Bay to inform local people, organisations and councillors to attract more people to choose services and support the merger whilst adhering to National MIND branding. We would want to bring current supporters with us.

Staffing and Volunteering

We will work closely with existing Umbrella staff and volunteers to improve the way we motivate, support and recognise their achievements including access to training and staff Wellbeing opportunities, supervision and support.


We will listen to, communicate with and engage with Herne Bay residents who currently use the Umbrella services to reassure them with an ultimate aim to actually improve and deliver services with them as co-producers.

Value for Money

We will make best use of our resources to provide services that prove their effectiveness through positive outcomes.


We would welcome the opportunity for trustees to be part of a management committee to support the merger and help with transition. I would also like to drive trustees and the service manager to Bexley to see our modern premises which has been purposely built for Mind. Our long-term aim would be to explore the opportunities to move from the current premises to a larger, fit for purpose and bright fresh modern premises which would enable growth and development.