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Respite service is restored
THE doors are finally open to Swindon Mind’s new Respite House which will provide temporary accommodation for people suffering from stress or mental health issues.
Last year, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) restructured their services, culminating with the decommissioning of the Crisis House at Oak Lodge, Sandalwood Court.
But the service has now been relaunched, much to the delight of staff and service users at the charity.
Andy Rowland, a former Swindon Town striker who suffered dementia and used Oak Lodge as part of his recovery, cut the ribbon to the new premises.
“This place is out of this world for people who have gone through the same thing as I did,” said Andy.
“It gives people the chance to look after themselves and have some peace of mind. Then you can look forward to moving on and back into a normal life.
“The people who work here are superb. They believe in what they are doing and nothing is too much trouble for them.
“It opened my eyes to so many things and helped me through my problems immensely. It doesn’t matter what is wrong, they try to put you on the road to recovery.
“It is an honour to be here and it is a small thank you for everything they have done for me.”
The new service will focus on respite and recovery, offering two-week lodgings for up to five people at a time.
Mark Smyth, Swindon Mind CEO, said: “It will be a new flavour of service.
“While the last house was about crisis, this will be about respite and well being.
“The essence of the building and the beautiful gardens will provide that. There are times when we all get to a point when there can be a dangerous escalation.
“We all need times to reflect and this could be a really good opportunity for people to step back.”
Andrea Phillips, a former guest at Crisis House, said: “The Crisis House truly turns people’s lives around, it has bought my life back from desperation and mental health recovery. It has been a godsend to me throughout its six years.”
Richard Pike, 36, of Westlea, also used the old service. He said he thought the move was a step in the right direction for the charity.
“While the last place was excellent, this is even better,” he said.
“For them to move here is a big step up and I applaud them for it. You are not going to find another building like this in Swindon.
“I had severe suicidal thoughts and I was going all over the place at that time.
“I had a lot of issues but now I have had some care and I can come here if I need to.
“They have helped me to sort out where I have gone wrong and their door is always open.”
Trish Kelk, 62, and Sue Sanders, 59, met at Oak Lodge in 2004 and are some of the longest service users with Swindon Mind.
“This feels more like home,” said Trish.
“It is absolutely lovely and I will be using it a lot.”
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