A POLITICAL aid best known for his work alongside former Prime Minister Tony Blair has joined the fight to keep a home for people with mental health issues in Uttoxeter open.
Alastair Campbell, who is also the ambassador for the Time to Change mental health awareness campaign, has thrown his support behind Bradley Court, which is at risk of closing at the end of September if it loses funding from the Supporting People programme, run by Staffordshire County Council.
Bradley Court is a residential home for people suffering with mental health issues which is run by Rethink.
Mr Campbell said: “Rethink provide a much-needed service to many people with mental health issues through their support houses in Staffordshire and if these cuts go through they will have devastating effects on vulnerable people.
“More than that, the government and other authorities will end up spending even more to deal with the consequences in terms of emergency care, policing costs, prisons, divorce courts and the rest.
“The sad reality is that at a time cuts are being made, councils around the country are going for what they think are easy targets, less likely to provoke campaigns against them. We are seeing the same in healthcare budgets too.
“The combined effect is taking us backwards as a country and we need to campaign both against the cuts and the mistaken attitudes that lie behind them.”
Residents were told last week that the building could be forced to close, along with other homes across Staffordshire, before the year is out.
Now Natice Duncan, who is a resident of Bradley Court, is fronting a campaign to keep her home open after spending most of her adolescent years in and out of hospital. Since moving to Rethink a year ago she has only spend two weeks in hospital instead of months.
The 20-year-old said: “I have been in contact with Alastair Campbell over the past few days and he was very supportive.
“I still can’t even think of the reality of the situation if the campaign doesn’t help the council’s decision.
“It is to painful to think about and I’m spending all day on the campaign contacting different health organisations and people to help out but at night when I sit down and have that thinking space it’s unbearable.”
Miss Duncan has now set up a Facebook page – Save Rethink in Staffordshire – which has more than 260 members.
East Staffordshire mayor Ron Clarke has also backed the campaign and revealed a decision will not be reached on the homes future until the end of the month.