Two of Islington’s four mental health day centres could close
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Islington could lose two of its four mental health day centres.
It comes as central government cuts continue to bite the council’s core services.
Islington has four mental health day centres: Isledon Road Resource Centre in Holloway; The Mind Hub in Despard Way, Archway; The Mind Spa in Ashley Road, Crouch Hill; and Mind Empower in Southwood Smith Street, Islington.
The council needs to find £300,000 of savings, with its budget under severe strain. It has come up with three options to achieve this: close The Mind Spa, close Mind Empower or close both.
The idea is to save money on rent and building maintenance costs in order to minimise staff and service cuts. Meanwhile, the same services would operate in the two or three centres that remain open.
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However, combined annual rent for The Mind Spa and Mind Empower buildings is £94,952 (not including maintenance and bills), raising questions about where Islington would find the remaining £205,048.
The issue was discussed at a meeting at Laycock Professional Development Centre this afternoon. It was held as part of Islington’s consultation process, which opened yesterday.
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Seven clients attended. They made it clear they were unhappy, especially when a town hall officer admitted: “It’s highly likely there will be less staff and highly likely not all services will be run in the same way.”
One client told him: “The continuation reflects on the quality of the staff and the thought of any of them losing their jobs makes me very sad.”
Another criticised the way the council approached the process: “It’s a life [living with mental health issues]. I didn’t intend to be an hour late this afternoon, but my body said no. We don’t know what’s going to happen. It blows everyone’s mind.
“You are trying to say we are working together, but what you actually did was build a wall. People are in distress when your job is about reducing stress. It’s not that people don’t understand, we all live in budget worlds.”
The consultation ends on July 27 and Islington Council is set to make a final decision at a town hall meeting in October.
For more information, visit islington.gov.uk/consultations