A MENTAL health advocate and MP hopeful have joined a campaign to save a Uttoxeter home supporting people with mental health issues from facing the axe.
Criminologist Dr Matt Long and Jon Wheale, Labour’s parliamentary candidate, have joined the fight to save the vital service offered at Bradley Court, which is run by Rethink.
They join East Staffordshire mayor Ron Clarke and former political aid Alastair Campbell, who is also the ambassador for the Time to Change mental health awareness campaign, in showing their support for the home.
Bradley Court was revealed to be at risk of closing at the end of September as funding through the Supporting People programme, run by Staffordshire County Council, could be withdraw.
Mr Wheale said: “I believe that the provision of good mental health care available locally is so important and that’s why I’ve made working towards ensuring it is my first election pledge.
“Having seen my soldiers, family and friends affected, and being the chair of trustees of a local social care charity, I feel strongly that we must all come together, irrespective of how we vote, to make sure mental care is there for those who need it.
“Any cut to funding is to be regretted and I hope the whole community can come together to support saving mental health care provision provided by organisations like Rethink and Bradley Court.”
The campaign was started by resident Natice Duncan who said the home has provided her with a lifeline since she moved in a year ago and she said the thought of it possibly closing had ‘ripped her heart out’.
Before that she spent most of her adolescent years in and out of hospital as she struggled to deal with the abuse she suffered as a child.
Since moving in she has only spent two weeks in hospital compared to months as she had previously.
Dr Long said something needed to be done to stop mental health facilities closing in East Staffordshire and he has fought tirelessly to try to save units in the area.
He told the Post and Times: “As a mental health campaigner who fought in vain to try and save the Margaret Stanhope Mental Health Centre in Burton where I myself was once hospitalised back in 2009, I applaud the intervention made by the Mayor of East Staffordshire Ron Clarke.
“Councillor Clarke is a leader amongst men who was there to fight as part of the Burton Mail’s excellent campaign from the very start and here he is again leading from the front.
“We must fight to retain the service provision offered by Bradley Court with urgency.
“This being said should this facility tragically close, the people of Uttoxeter and Burton need to unite to campaign for better mental health service provision across East Staffordshire.
“We can begin to work together by people contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book at place at a no partisan community event at Café Zen, in High Street, Burton, at 1.30pm on Tuesday, July 22.”