Mental health charity says it will not be closing its doors

Times Technology Expert Haydon Kirby of Infinity

Tunbridge Wells Mental Health Resource has denied media reports it will cease operating from April following changes to the way Kent County Council issues its grants.

Over £4million worth of funding is set to be devolved from the county council and seven Kent clinical commissioning groups, excluding Medway. Instead, it will be placed in the hands of Shaw Trust and Porchlight.

The two charities will control the subcontracting of services to different parts of the county, with west Kent coming under the remit of Shaw Trust, which will have £754,109 in funding at its disposal.

However, the changes led to speculation that certain charities would be forced to cease delivering services. Among those named was Tunbridge Wells Mental Health Resource.

The charity is best known in town for running the informal community service, known as ‘The Hub’, which is situated on Grosvenor Road.

The Hub, which featured in the Times’ Christmas appeal, operates as a safe environment for those with mental health problems.

While accepting that some provision of services may be affected, the charity strenuously denies reports it was closing, claiming such rumours had caused ‘distress’ among its service users.

A spokesman for the charity said: “Community mental health services across Kent have been grant funded by the county council for a number of years and individual grants have “These grants are stopping from April 1, 2016 including the grant for the informal community service.

“A new Community Mental Health and Wellbeing service will start on April 1, 2016 which will be provided by a Strategic Partnership network approach, delivered by the Shaw Trust.

“It is too early to say what part Tunbridge Wells Mental Health will play in the partnership.

“I can confirm that the charity will continue to run community services but they will in all likelihood be of a reduced nature, and will be more reliant on fundraised income.”

Roy O’Shaughnessy, chief executive of Shaw Trust, said: “Kent is leading the way in transforming the quality of community mental health and wellbeing services.

“We are delighted to be working closely with Kent County Council and local clinical commissioning groups to help deliver a more holistic approach.

“We believe that mental illness should be a greater public health priority. Shaw Trust looks forward to the challenge of offering new community mental health and wellbeing support in the county.”

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