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Charity vows to fight to keep Uttoxeter mental health service open

Natice Duncan

Natice Duncan

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“THE well-being of our residents is our top priority,” said a charity battling to keep open a Uttoxeter home for people with mental health illnesses at risk of being forced to close.

Alex Hallam, area manager for Rethink Mental Illness in Staffordshire, said the team is exploring alternatives after it was revealed Bradley Court could be forced to close at the end of September if funding through the Supporting People programme, run by Staffordshire County Council, is cut.

The residential home allows people suffering with mental health issues to live independently but they still have a support officer on hand when they find themselves in need of help.

Mr Hallam told The Advertiser a cut to the funding will mean they will not be able to support the residents in the same way they are currently doing.

He said: “We are determined to explore every option possible to keep on supporting our residents in any way we can.

“If the council cuts the funding, we won’t be able to support people in the same way, but we are exploring alternatives that could at least mean they won’t lose their home.

“The wellbeing of our residents is our top priority and we’re doing everything we can to find a way to maintain this.”

The campaign, headed by resident Natice Duncan, has seen a host of supporters come forward to try to help save another mental health unit closing its doors in East Staffordshire.

So far East Staffordshire Mayor Ron Clarke, mental health campaigner Dr Matt Long, political aid Alastair Campbell and Labour parliamentary candidate Jon Wheale have come forward to show their support to the cause.

Representatives met from Staffordshire County Council on Friday to discuss the proposals, which saw 200 contracts under discussion, although it is not yet clear if Rethink will have its funding pulled.

Alan White, the council’s cabinet member for care, said: “We want people to live as independent and fulfilled lives as possible and to achieve this we also need to ensure that there is fair and equal access to support services across the county to those that need it most.

“Our priority is to protect the most vulnerable in our community, those who have little or no access to other support than from the council.

“We are committed to spending annually more than £100 million on older people, more than £82 million on people with learning disabilities and, together with the partners, more than £100 million on mental health.

“As a part of this, we have carefully reviewed more than 200 historic contracts with around 40 different organisations which come under the national Supporting People programme, which dates back to 2003 and over the past few months we have consulted with organisations about the element of support we provide and the options available going forward.

“We have now identified which contracts we will be funding and are working with organisations affected by these changes to explore further funding options and alternative sources of support for residents where necessary.”

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