Clare Milford Haven and Nick Wentworth-Stanley set up James’ Place in 2008 after their 21-year-old son, James, died by suicide. The first centre opened in Liverpool in 2018, and the second in London in 2022. Both centres exist to offer life-saving therapeutic interventions to men who are experiencing a suicidal crisis.
In the early days of James’ Place, Clare, Nick, and their team would use Liverpool’s The Quarter as a meeting place for planning what the charity would one day look like. The owners of the restaurant, brothers Gary and Colin Manning, became interested in the work they were doing and were eager to get involved.
When James’ Place opened its centre in Liverpool in June 2018, the Manning brothers began supporting the charity by providing high-end catering at fundraising events and contributing to developing a suicide awareness training programme.
Gary and Colin see the partnership as more than a business relationship; it represents their commitment to being part of the more significant suicide prevention movement.
‘It’s quite a unique charity, unique in what they do,’ Gary said. ‘We want to communicate the message to the bigger Liverpool community and make people aware of what James’ Place offers. And people have started to approach me little by little to ask, how can I get involved? What can I do?’
The Quarter has become a key ally for James’ Place in the Liverpool community. The restaurant’s staff recently donned new uniforms with the charity’s logo, while the senior staff is planning to attend suicide awareness training sessions with Jane Boland, head of James’ Place Liverpool and Clinical Lead.
‘It’s a matter of giving people the skills and confidence to ask someone directly if they feel suicidal and ensure they know what to do next if they tell you that they do,’ Jane said.
‘All of us should be able to do that for our friends. And when we’re in a situation where we’re managing people and responsible for their welfare at work, it’s important to know that you don’t need to be a mental health professional to recognise the signs of a suicidal crisis. And it’s just as important to know where you can send someone experiencing a crisis to receive the professional help they need.’
Community partnerships such as this have raised the visibility of James’ Place’s work in Liverpool. The clinical team hopes it can help facilitate more conversations about identifying symptoms of a suicidal crisis, a key factor in destigmatising mental health topics.
In addition, men in need of support have found their way to the doors of James’ Place after seeing the logo in places across Liverpool, demonstrating the importance of community partnerships like that of James’ Place and The Quarter.
‘The clients we treat life in the community,’ Jane said. ‘Every space that we can have information about what James’ Place does straightforwardly reduces the general stigma about mental health. Having such a beloved restaurant talking about the importance of suicide awareness is invaluable for making it something that can be part of everyday conversation.’