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6000+ sign petition for re-think on mental health centre closures

A PETITION asking councillors to rethink closing three mental health centres on the Isle of Wight will be considered at full council on Wednesday.

The Isle of Wight Council proposed closing the drop-in centres as part of budget proposals to save £145,000 in October last year. The centres are Parklands in Cowes, Riboleau in Ryde and West Wight Day Services in Freshwater — plus a satellite centre in Ventnor. A petition to reconsider the closures was luanched in April and now has more than 6,000 signatures — well past the 2,500 needed for it to be considered by full council.

Colleen Brannon, a Labour Party activist who started the petition, said: “Having spent the last few months talking with service users, mental health support workers, families and friends of Islanders affected by these closures — in particular, listening to the moving testimonies from people at the public meeting — we are in no doubt that the services offered by the centres, particularly the drop-in aspect of the services, are of great value and importance to the health and well-being of our communities.”

Staff at the centres, supported by their trade union Unison, have slammed the proposals, saying that although there is room for improvement, some form of drop-in day centre is necessary. About 75 people attending a public meeting at the Riverside Centre in June, but council said the services were still likely to close.

Colleen continued: “Mark Chiverton of Unison, Cllr Lilley, George Brewer and I have worked closely with the public to fight for these services because we believe a local, well-promoted drop-in service to be one of several vital tools in the box to care for people suffering mental health issues, people who can be some of our most vulnerable and often isolated friends, neighbours and colleagues. We see there is a great need for such a service on the island, and we implore councillors to think twice before cutting a service that is already a lifeline for some, and could be a lifeline for many others in future. We submitted a petition with over 6,880 signatures and will be presenting it to the council at Wednesdays meeting.”


This article originally appeared on Isle of Wight County Press

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