Mental health programme stays for three months

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A SERVICE for people with mental health problems in Wigan has been given a three-month stay of execution.

As part of Wigan Council’s budget review of Mental Health Day Opportunities provision, it is working with charity Making Space, which has 13 services across the borough, to investigate new ways of supporting people with mental health needs.

As a result, Making Space’s day centres, based in Wigan, Ince and Standish, were due to close on March 31.

But now the centres will remain open until the end of June, allowing more time for further reviews and a consultation.

After this date users will no longer have day services, but will have access to other forms of mental health support.

But many of the members who access Making Space’s day services are disappointed they will be losing out on vital support.

And Gerry Bennett, 64, of Everest Place, Swinley, who has been going to the centre in Dorning Street, Wigan, for nine years, has found an unconventional way of getting people to take notice of the centre’s plight, by posting a letter on YouTube calling for people to support his fight.

The letter states: “Wigan Council is cutting funding for the mental health centre, which to be quite frank is appalling.

“All I ask is for your help, as your influence can help keep the centre open.

“Having a place to go to and talk to people with similar situations is better medication than pills or therapy.”

Making Space also provides Buddies workshops, which provide opportunities for people with mental health needs to gain work experience.

The workshops, based in Wigan and Golborne, will stay open until April 30,

This closure will affect 17 people, many of whom are already accessing alternative services and all others will be offered further support.

Making Space director of operations, Gaynor Chisnall, said: “All the people who currently use the services are being informed of the final decision and Making Space remains committed to, where possible, providing other support.”

Stuart Cowley, Wigan Council’s service director for personalisation and partnerships, said: “Whilst there is no doubt that Making Space has provided a worthwhile service over the years, the council is facing stark economic times and difficult choices have to be made.”

For more information contact Bill Gittens on 243271.