Renew Wellbeing: bringing communities together again

people in a group talking

Renew Wellbeing: bringing communities together again

In this blog, Ruth Rice, the Founder of Renew Wellbeing, shares her thoughts on the effects of self-isolation on people’s mental health, and the role churches can play by opening their doors as places for community wellbeing.
I founded the charity Renew Wellbeing several years ago following a period of burn out in my own life. A Renew space is a place run by a local church. It is a quiet shared space where you can pop in and share wellbeing hobbies and habits, a place where you can attend to your inner wellbeing needs with rhythms of prayer, and a place where we partner with oversubscribed mental health services to offer sustainable safe environments for all.
When we set up the first space here in Nottingham, I had no idea God would take that simple seed and multiply it. Today we have over 160 Renew centres nationally in all denominations, and the need is continuing to grow.  
Even before the pandemic, there was a massive problem with loneliness, and now self-isolation is an encouraged part of our vocabulary. We need communities of wellbeing. There is no going back to what we had before but there is such a need to be present, where people can find us in our communities. We as churches are the people of the gospel of wellbeing. It feels to me like it is a time to be honest, to do something simpler, to make quiet rhythms of prayer a priority and to open our spaces to our communities to begin to find each other and God again.
People working at YMCA desk
The Trust’s mental health grants programme, Brighter Lives*, made me so hopeful that the dream of the church being the heartbeat of renewed wellbeing in our communities could actually become a reality. 
Helpful resources from Renew Wellbeing
• To join the Renew family and open a space where you are, visit Contact to book free online training
• Read the story of Renew Wellbeing in Slow Down, Show up and Pray:
• There is a useful list of charities and organisations that help churches engage with mental health in the back of the “A-Z of Wellbeing” book:
*Please note, Benefact Trust's Brighter Lives programme is now closed, but we offer support for mental health services through our Community Impact grant programme.

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