Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Mental health charity forced to close Minehead office
Mind in Taunton and West Somerset has struggled to secure further funding to keep the office open but hopes it will only stay closed for six to 12 months.
Services that will be lost in the district as a result include one-to-one listening sessions and support with everyday activities, an allotment project which allows sufferers to find solace in gardening and access to advice and information every weekday morning.
Two members of staff will lose their jobs just as people were campaigning for World Mental Health Day yesterday (October 10).
But the charity, in its 30th year, will continue to provide a drop-in service on a Monday in Minehead, relaxation groups in Minehead and Watchet and outreach sessions in Williton and Watchet.
Mind director Allan Petchey said: “We have had to mothball some operations in West Somerset because we just don’t have the reserves to fund it. What else do we do?
“We are trying to move away from being completely grant-funded. If a pilot, due to start in 2013, proves that we have a positive impact on mental health here, we will work with the Primary Care Trust towards getting a social bond to provide ongoing income.
“I am confident this will work and if everything comes good we will be back to business with an enhanced service. It will be positive news but it is a bit dark at the minute.”
Minehead Mayor Cllr Tony Berry said: “I am disappointed that it’s closing. It’s going to make life even more difficult for the people who rely on these services.
“It is just something else that people in West Somerset will have to go to Taunton for, which will make people feel more isolated with the time and effort involved in travelling and especially with the cost of petrol now.
“It is an organisation that is needed more than ever as more people are suffering from stress because of losing their jobs, money worries and so on.
“It’s a charity we cannot do without and I hope it’s not long before it reopens.”
The Minehead office will close on Thursday, October 25.