Improving the UK mental health through food

by Katy Andrews in Manchester, England, United Kingdom

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Taking people with mental health concerns through an Odyssey of exciting, fresh, healthy food with ingredients that can boost mental health.

by Katy Andrews in Manchester, England, United Kingdom

Your Odyssey Story:

Hi everyone, my name is Katy Andrews and you can see in the picture my Husband Ciaran. 

We are trying to raise some funds to be able to support a dream and a mission to support those that struggle with mental health concerns. 

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK take a hit each year to their mental health which means that more and more of us are facing this issue each and every day. (Source and google.)

We will do this by providing people across the UK with fresh, wholesome and exciting food whilst pledging to commit to giving up to 51% of any profits (yearly) that we make back to a mental health charity to continue to support those who need it.

A balanced diet is a very important factor in not only maintaining and boosting mental health but also for overall wellbeing.

With your help, we want to raise £35,000 in order to have enough funds to make this dream a reality. 




About us:

My husband is a Chef of over 20 years working from KP through to Head/Executive levels. 

I have a background in HR/Recruitment working for both the public and private sector and I love working with people.

Despite us both working in very different industries, the one thing that is similar is that we have both suffered from our mental and physical health.

My husband has had to deal with unsupportive management, poor culture, bad or non-existent work-life balance and has been worked and pushed into the ground so much that it made him either exhausted, stressed or turn to alcohol to try and deal with day to day life.

Throughout most of my working life, I have had to deal with bullying, discrimination due to my hidden disability and just like many people struggling with mental health this impacted my confidence, self-esteem and personal life dramatically. 

Last year I faced breaking point and had to make the decision to either carry on working for the same employer and risk my mental health further or to take a leap and leave. 

Given that I put my mental health first and took the leap into the unknown I want to create something that not only gives me and my husband the freedom and balance we so desperately need but to also change lives for the better, give something back and feel that buzz again, waking up every day and having a real purpose. 

It would be nice to do something that does not involve my husband going round in circles due to the reasons mentioned above and having to deal with the stresses and the hit to our mental health each time. 

The pictures below I chose as they are how myself and Ciaran have felt on and off when dealing with mental health.




What is Your Odyssey:

When people are battling with mental health concerns they can sometimes neglect themselves by not eating properly amongst other things and food is vital to everyone, not only from a physical but from a mental perspective also. 

My husband's experience in the food industry has allowed him to understand the importance of balance within dishes. 

He will be able to create food that is perfectly balanced (to restore some wellbeing order) in our lives and keep it fresh and exciting, which is something we neglect when we have mental health concerns. 

We do not want to tie ourselves down to a particular cuisine, we want to take people on a journey using food to enable people to experience new and existing flavours from around the world that will not only expand the mind but will be healthy and just what the body needs. 

This is not because we are a jack of all trades and a master of none, this is because foods from all around the world such as pad thai, ramen or Mediterranian foods all have ingredients that are healthy, balanced and have some healing properties that we want to pass onto the consumer.



What makes it different?

We are not just an average food stall that serves unhealthy but fast food to the consumer for a quick buck. 

Our focus is not primarily about making money for ourselves as we want to give back and make a real difference to people. 

We will donate up to 51% of all yearly profits made back to a mental health charity to support people like ourselves with ongoing mental health concerns. 

We will look to try and collaborate with similar businesses or charities that focus on overall wellbeing, in order to bring communities together and get more people with mental health concerns out of the house and enjoying good food with friends or other people that need someone to talk to.

Some of the ways that we can bring communities and people with mental health concerns are:

Hold monthly cooking sessions at the van via an outdoor BBQ or community kitchen where people can learn new cooking skills, enjoy good food and meet new people.

Themed food evenings that bring people together to taste the different world flavours whilst enjoying the company of others and taking that leap to improve their wellbeing, one day at a time.

Food evenings that work on taste, body and mind, having guest speakers or yoga/reiki masters to heal people whilst also providing nutritious food.

These are just some of the ideas that we have and we are open to hearing your comments.


Where will you find 'Your Odyssey':

Given that we will be mobile and have the ability to move across the UK we would like to move around as much as we can in order to support as many people as possible. 

We are based in Manchester and to start with we may focus our efforts closer to home with the view to moving around once we have a few markets and events under our belt.

We will have social media pages so that you can keep in touch with us with any comments or suggestions you have and if you would like to see us in your city and we have not made our way there then do let us know. 

We would like to eventually collaborate as much as possible with other charities and attend health and wellbeing events.



What am I Crowdfunding for?

We will use this funding to help us set up and cover the start-up costs to get this food business up and running to start bringing the Your Odyssey food to a market or festival near you! Additionally, it will go towards necessary business costs like insurances, equipment, food safety accreditations and training. 

Key equipment and costs we need to purchase and cover include a mobile catering van for trading at events, purchase of crockery and equipment, food supplies and gas.

The majority of any donations will be spent on the purchase of a van and the insurance. 

It will be somewhere in the region of £24,000 for a van that is decent enough to start using straight away and around £3,000 for the insurance and refresher driving lessons/test. 

Both I and my husband have not driven in several years which will drive the insurance prices up.

The rest of the donations will be put towards other typical starting costs that may occur, such as food supplies, paper food boxes etc, as with any new startup you need some money aside as a contingency as something usually does go wrong (hopefully something small).

We did think about the use of a commercial kitchen but this does not allow us to bring the food to the people and this is something that we so wish to do as it is just as important for us to socialise and get out there as it is for the people we wish to serve.


Example Van:



Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and read my page and I do hope that you can play a part in this journey to support people with mental health, build communities and make a real difference not only to others but to me and my husband too. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£500 or more

0 of 3 claimed

Your Odyssey private dining

Experience the Your Odyssey food for yourself and get a selection of dishes of your choice (menu chosen by you ahead of time) for a maximum of 4 people to be served at your home or location with a working kitchen. (Within a 200 mile radius of Manchester).

£10 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Your Odyssey Recipe

If you pledge £10 we will send you an electronic copy of a recipe of your choice. This can be either meat or veggie and have a rating of easy, medium or hard. The recipe will be a dish from our menu.

£75 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Odyssey Taster session

When we are next stationed within your area (within 200 miles of Manchester) we will invite you along to taste some of the food we serve. These will be taster samples and not full portions. This can be meat/veggie or vegan. (6 months expiry).

£1,000 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Odyssey Private Dining - up to 8 people

Enjoy a meal for you and up to 7 other friends and family and have the 'Your Odyssey' experience at home or another location, (must have a working kitchen). You will choose your menu ahead of time and will have a choice of meat/veggie/vegan.

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