For a number of years, we have been funded by Stockport Council to provide some services to Stockport residents who were experiencing mental health problems.
For over five years, under a contract called the Stockport Mental Health Alliance contract, we have worked with SPARC (Stockport Progress and Recovery Centre) and two staff from Pennine Care to provide enablement and recovery support to people who had previously been accessing secondary mental health care services (this includes receiving support from the Community Mental Health Teams and/or hospital admissions).
Following a re-tender process in March, we were unsuccessful in our bid to continue providing our part of this service. This means we have substantially reduced income from May 1st and very sadly, four of our staff team will leave us to be employed by the successful bidder (Pure Innovations) under what are called TUPE arrangements (TUPE stands for the Transfer of Undertakings [Protection of Employment] Regulations).
Our staff have been working hard to minimise the disruption to people currently using services, whilst also dealing with their own changed circumstances. We were pleased to see that the funding for SPARC will continue.
So from May we will have eight staff, one of whom – our Community Advocate – will be leaving at the end of her contract on 31st May. We were funding this service from our reserves and from money donated or raised for us by individuals and organisations, which we are unable to continue to do.
We are planning our future with a much reduced income, and consequently a smaller staff team. One of the consequences of this will be reduced opening/contact times. Details of this are being worked on at the moment.
We will continue to provide assessments and support to Carers of people experiencing mental health problems, as we have funding under a Stockport contract until at least the end of September. We will also continue to work with our dedicated Volunteer team to provide some group support and activities. Again the detail of that will be shared as soon as possible.
Whilst we are sad, we are not despairing, and we have some good news. We now have a part-time worker in post for our two year Charity grant-funded project aimed at identifying and supporting people who are lonely and socially isolated. This is a joint project with Age UK Stockport.
The second piece of good news is that we were successful in our bid for a small grant from Stockport Local Fund for one year, to provide a series of workshops and support around cooking well and eating well, to maintain good mental as well as physical health. These workshops will be advertised in the near future.
We can assure you that we are doing everything we can to find new opportunities to continue to work with people to achieve and maintain good mental health, and are determined to bounce back from this setback, as we have done before.
We will continue to work alongside others in Stockport and the other Greater Manchester areas to raise awareness of the importance of mental health issues and campaign for more resources and understanding.
You will see from our fundraising blog that we continue to meet some lovely individuals and organisations who contact us to give/raise money for us, often in the memory of loved one. Thanks to them and to you for supporting us in many different ways, and we sincerely hope you will continue to do that.
If you would like to make a donation to help us out, please click here for details on how – contributions of any amount are greatly appreciated, and are vital in helping us provide front line mental health support for local people.
Our Volunteers are very important to us and we can never thank them enough for what they do. We hope they will continue with us, along what feels like an even rockier road to better mental health in our local community. As Frank A Clark (look him up – he will make you smile) said, “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere”!
I am sure you will join with me in thanking all our staff for the great work they do every day, and particularly those who are due to be transferred. We are going to miss them all, but wish them good luck for the future.
Chair – Stockport and District Mind