Imagine a well-being hub, located in central Bathgate, where alongside a cultural hive of recording studios, photography and other creative spaces, you can access a range of mental health support activities.
This is the vision of Bathgate couple Katy Forrester and Adrian McNab, co-founders of Trash Panda.
It’s an idea that has been growing on them for a few years. They are both passionate about mental health issues, and saw a way of using their background in music and the creative arts to spin off a mental health support facility in their home town.
“The idea is that when you walk though the door of Trash Panda HQ, no-one will know whether you’re coming to record a song, for a photoshoot, or for a mental health support session,” explains Katy.
The premises will be located in central Bathgate and accessible to all, and is opening in the Spring (subject to lease being finalised). In the meantime, some support services are up and running already.
All Trash Panda’s support services are free of charge. They are funded by the commercial sound engineering, room hire and photography side of the business.
The Sounding Board is a phone-based service at present, which anyone can call if they need to reach out for support. Trash Panda also offer Walk and Talk sessions face to face (distanced) in West Lothian, so you can grab a takeaway coffee and meet someone from Trash Panda for a walk and chat outdoors in nature – a well-proven formula for keeping healthy.
There is a free weekly yoga class (currently streamed online) and the aim is, as Covid restrictions allow, to run fitness classes, cooking and a range of other activities that support mental health and well-being.
Music and Creative Arts Services
The studio rooms at Trash Panda HQ will be purpose-built, state-of-the-art rehearsal and recording spaces.
Adrian is a professional sound engineer with a long history on the Scottish music scene, so music is a big part of Trash Panda. With music lessons gradually disappearing from the school curriculum, Katy and Adrian want to use their new space to help make music lessons accessible, and will be offering affordable room hire for music teachers.
The state-of-the-art facilities will also be available for live streams, podcasts and other commercial activities for the local business community, all of which will go back into supporting the Trash Panda mental health and well-being hub.
Are you involved in providing mental health support in West Lothian?
Katy and Adrian would love to hear from you. The aim is not to duplicate all the fantastic support that is already out there, but to fill in any gaps and offer signposting to existing services.
If you need support, Trash Panda is here for you.
For a chat, a walk, for signposting to other services, or someone to talk to while you’re on a waiting list for other services; many more services are planned. See contact details below to get in touch.
Trash Panda merchandise is available for sale from their website and all purchases support provision of mental health services.
Follow Trash Panda on Facebook @TrashPandaHQ and Instagram @trashpanda_hq
Phone: 07591 565 962
Published in Konect February 2021
Author: Helen-Jane Shearer