AMY WINEHOUSE’S father will be unveiled as the patron for Swindon charity SWADS later this year, as they look to continue their work supporting people with mental health issues.

Supporting Wellbeing and Developing Stability, based in the town centre’s Milton Road, have been investing heavily in new classes, therapies and equipment to support their visitors.

And with Mitch Winehouse, a jazz musician in his own right, on board, they are now looking for sources of funding to take them to new heights.

Julie Mattinson, the charity’s director, said: “We have been looking for a patron for the last 18 months, so to find somebody who really fits with what we’re trying to do is great.

“Having somebody like Mitch can really help the profile of the charity and help with fundraising.”

Barbara Pike, SWADS’s development manager, added: “He came on down and he didn’t only see what we were doing with the young people, but also with some of the older people.

“We have a small team at the minute that are trying to put together a fundraising ball, that Mitch has agreed to bring his jazz band to play at.”

Music is a big theme in the charity’s headquarters, with a new studio adding to their recording and broadcasting capabilities.

Selling one of their two adjacent properties – the charity has sold 14 Milton Road, and is now based exclusively in number 13 – has allowed them to upgrade their equipment. It also means that for the immediate future, the six-strong team – four full-time – of staff and the services they provide are secure.

It has also allowed them to expand their operations, with a music therapist providing sessions once a fortnight and work to help develop children’s wellbeing in St Luke’s School.

These activities add to their already well-established portfolio of support services, including art classes, counselling and music recording.

Barbara said: “Our strengths have always been music, art and counselling. It helps to build self-esteem – it provides some distraction from everyday life and problems.

“The music can be in a group, or one-to-one; the art is in a group of eight. The success of what we’re doing really shows that there is a need for it.

“We also have our own radio show that goes out once a month on Swindon 105.5.”

Among the musical options on offer are the chance to work in the charity’s new studio, having songs mixed, recorded and available to take home.

Some regulars have even gone so far as to form bands, with a group of older patrons forming the Mature Mondays.

With their funding from the Big Lottery having expired last year, SWADS are now looking for new sources of funds, and fundraisers to help them secure them.

The sale of their building will allow them to keep going long enough to get in new funding requests, but until then, they are having to be creative with their efforts.

A fundraising ball is pencilled in for later this year, with the date yet to be confirmed, and beyond that the charity are heavily reliant on donations.