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Heritage project to mark 50 years of Beeston mental health support centre

The experiences and memories of Nottinghamshire residents who have been supported by Middle Street Resource Centre (MSRC) are to be collected as part of a heritage project to mark 50 years of the Centre.

The garden at Middle Street Resource Centre
The garden at Middle Street Resource Centre

MSRC in Beeston is a mental health-focused community centre which offers a variety of support groups, therapeutic one-to-one support, and volunteering opportunities to promote mental health wellbeing.

Supported by a £98,000 grant from The National Heritage Lottery Fund, researchers from the School of Social Sciences and the School of Arts and Humanities at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) will work with past and present service users, staff, volunteers, peer support groups, local residents and NTU students to record and document stories and experiences, including those of the community activists who campaigned to save the Centre in 2010.

The project aims to put communities and individuals with lived experience of mental illness at the heart of helping future generations interpret and understand the hidden history of mental health in Nottinghamshire. It will also promote inclusivity by removing barriers to participation for people with mental ill health, who are under-represented in heritage.

Collecting the material will be more than 60 volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds, including young people. They will use creative and interpretive methods to explore MSRC’s legacy, such as oral history, curatorial and archival skills, digital photography, poetry writing and performance and craft-making.

Front of the centre
Middle Street Resource Centre has been supporting people for 50 years

Leading the project is Dr Verusca Calabria, who is an oral historian, trustee of the Oral History Society and research fellow in the Department of Social Work, Care and Community at NTU’s School of Social Sciences. She said: “The experiences and histories of disabled people are often absent from museums and archives, and very few collections of oral histories which focus specifically on mental health exist in the UK. This project aims to raise public awareness of the heritage of this rare community based service that has touched thousands of people’s lives over its 50 year history, and to celebrate people with lived experiences of mental health difficulties within the UK's wider heritage context.

“MSRC is unique as a community based service in Nottinghamshire which supports pathways of recovery for people with enduring mental health challenges. Its users and allies are anxious to document and celebrate the Centre’s hidden heritage, including the story of activism and the important role the Centre has been playing in supporting the wellbeing of the local community over the last 50 years.”

Robert Ashford, CEO at Middle Street Resource Centre, said: “There is an imminent risk of losing the heritage of our Centre as many of the people involved in its long history are no longer able to tell their stories. This project will help the heritage of our centre to be unearthed and recorded for posterity.”

The oral history recordings, transcripts, collated historical documents, and creative outputs will be displayed at local libraries, as well as being stored digitally and deposited in the NTU Data Repository and Nottinghamshire Archives, which will be freely accessible to the public.

For further information on the project, please contact Dr Verusca Calabria via email: or Tel: 0115 8482053.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Helen Breese, Public Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8751, or via email.

    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) received the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2021 for cultural heritage science research. It is the second time that NTU has been bestowed the honour of receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research, the first being in 2015 for leading-edge research on the safety and security of global citizens.

    The Research Excellence Framework (2021) classed 83% of NTU’s research activity as either world-leading or internationally excellent. 86% of NTU’s research impact was assessed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent.

    NTU was awarded Outstanding Support for Students 2020 (Times Higher Education Awards). It was the University of the Year 2019 (Guardian University Awards, UK Social Mobility Awards), Modern University of the Year 2018 (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide) and University of the Year 2017 (Times Higher Education Awards).

    NTU is the 5th largest UK institution by student numbers, with over 33,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across five campuses. It has an international student population of 4,000 and an NTU community representing around 160 countries.

    In the past 15 years, NTU has invested £450 million in tools, technology and facilities.

    NTU is in the UK’s top 10 for number of applications and ranked first for accepted offers (2019 UCAS UG acceptance data) It is also among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    75% of NTU students go on to graduate-level employment or graduate-entry education / training within fifteen months of graduating (Guardian University Guide 2021).

    NTU is 4th globally (and 3rd in the UK) for sustainability in the 2021 UI Green Metric University World Rankings (out of more than 900 participating universities).

Published on 12 May 2022
  • Category: Press office; Research; School of Arts and Humanities; School of Social Sciences