Funding cuts to Mind leave carers worried about suicide

Fears for safety of mental health patients as South Lincolnshire Mind faces closure.
Fears for safety of mental health patients as South Lincolnshire Mind faces closure.
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A service in Grantham for people suffering from mental health problems faces closure after losing every penny of local authority funding.

This has created fears that people contemplating self-harm will have nowhere to turn to.

South Lincolnshire Mind has been established in Grantham for over 20 years. It is tied in with centres in Bourne and Sleaford, providing drop-in centres for 80 regular service-users to support each other, have a hot meal and try activities.

But if the centre cannot find alternative funding, it will be forced to follow in the footsteps of Mind centres in Bourne and Lincoln and close its doors.

Tracey Knowles is the finance and administration manager in Grantham.

She said: “Service-users feel safe here. If they feel safe, it gives them that bit of confidence to go into the community.

Lincolnshire County Council has introduced personal budgets, in line with a national initiative. These are aimed at allowing service-users to buy the care they want or need.

However, of the 80 Mind users assessed, only 10 per cent were eligible for a personal budget. And if South Lincolnshire Mind closes, users will not have anywhere to go anyway, said Mrs Knowles.

She added: “The others are not eligible because they have not been accessing mainstream mental health care.

“We offer a preventative service. Coming here stops them needing to use facilities like Beaconfield.

“If our service users have nowhere to go, they will stay at home or possibly go to hospital. They could end up committing suicide. ”

The county council has been forced to make massive savings because of funding cuts from central government.

Executive councillor for adult social care Graham Marsh said he understands change can be difficult, and insisted that advice is available to care providers.

He added: “South Lincolnshire Mind is no different to other care providers who have had their funding cut, many of whom have looked at alternative funding and attracted customers back who now use personal budgets. It is up to these organisations to review and change the way they operate so they can continue to provide services to people who want them.”

l If you can offer any financial support to South Lincolnshire Mind, call Mrs Knowles on 01476 594933.