The town hoping to become an oasis of CALM through new initiative

Jo Grimmer (on right) Laura Bridgens, and Phil Pope on the "calm couch" which encourages people to s

Jo Grimmer (on right) Laura Bridgens, and Phil Pope on the "calm couch" which encourages people to sit and chat - Credit: Archant

The community in St Ives has come together in an effort to become the first CALM (campaign against living miserably) town in the UK.

Led by the former mayor of St Ives, Tim Drye, pub landlord Phil Pope and Methodist minister Matt Finch, the town has joined forces in a bid to highlight mental health and wellbeing across the entire community.

As a collective, the trio hopes their list of initiatives will help reach people who are finding life challenging, while establishing the town as a model for others to replicate.

One of the motives behind the campaign was to remember those from St Ives who had committed suicide. One of those being a popular face, 28-year-old Carl Malik, who committed suicide following the death of his father Kevin, who also took his own life, seven years earlier.

Rev Finch said: "It is quite scary that we are leading the way on this issue but what I think is so nice is that we are just being normal. This is an ordinary thing that we are doing, and we are hoping other towns follow us on this.

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"Now we have set up the initiative, we are now organising events that people can get involved with to help them not feel isolated. One of the events we are hosting is a 'calm walk' where we are encouraging people to come along for a walk, a chat and a coffee, to help them feel less lonely.

"We also held our first 'meet the street' event, where we opened up one street in St Ives in a hope that the neighbours would get to know each other. We had such great feedback that we are planning on doing it again."

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Matt has now recruited a team of eight people to be part of the initiative, and together they meet to discuss what they can do to help the town.

The calm walk will take place on October 20 at 10am. Meet at Hill Rise Park. All welcome.

The calm town website will go live on Thursday. To find out more visit: www.

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