Talks underway to keep Oak Lodge open
10:55am Thursday 25th October 2012 in By Emma Dunn, @EmmaDunnn
A MENTAL health facility that was facing closure could stay open if talks about its future continue to be successful.
Earlier this month the Adver reported that the Crisis House, based at Oak Lodge in Sandalwood Court, Stratton, could close by next April.
The service is run by voluntary organisation Swindon Mind and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and commissioned by NHS Swindon.
News of its closure came after AWP advised NHS Swindon that the space the Crisis House occupies is now needed for its own services.
But talks are now under way to keep the Crisis House open.
Mark Smyth, the CEO of Swindon Mind, said: “I have had positive discussions with AWP which have been constructive and hopefully fruitful.
“I would like to continue working with them and hopefully we can keep Crisis House in Swindon.
“Plan A at the moment through the discussions, is that it would remain in some form at Sandalwood.
“There is an acceptance and a willingness that Crisis House is needed in Swindon.”
In the past couple of years, the Crisis House has helped more than 200 people. It hosts a five-bed unit in which people can stay for two weeks while staff spend time with them to find solutions to their anxiety.
An Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership spokesman said: “AWP does not commission the Mind service but has provided accommodation in Sandalwood Court, which is now required for our rehabilitation services.
“Discussions are taking place with NHS Swindon and Mind to look at options for both services, pending the conclusion of a review of third sector provision by the Primary Care Trust and Swindon Council.”
Former teacher Andrea Phillips, 59, of Stratton, has been visiting The Crisis House since it opened six years ago.
The mother-of-two, who has suffered from chronic severe depression and anxiety since she was a child, said: “Crisis House has helped save my life on more than one occasion. If I hadn’t been here I might have done something drastic.
“It has prevented me being hospitalised throughout its six years, before which I was in and out for months on end.
“Crisis House is my lifeline . You only have two weeks here but it is amazing what space, rest, and speaking to the staff does for you.
“Crisis House has brought me to the cusp of seeing a future. I can now see into the next day.”