WHAT IT WAS
Highgate Day Centre in Kentish Town offered Camden residents with mental ill health therapeutic and educative workshops/activities. In September 2015, the centre lost 50% of it’s annual budget which has proved utterly devastating. Already there has been one tragic death as a result.
WHAT IT OFFERED
Running a program of group work in conjunction with 1:1 keywork, the centre worked with over 60 clients in the core community as well as providing a lower level of support to ex-service users through the open-ended Associate Membership scheme. There were a wide variety of activities offered including art, stained glass, pottery music, individual piano lessons, photography, yoga and gardening.
The centre has existed under current management for almost 40 years and the dedicated staff team (consisting of seven mental health practitioners) have jointly accrued over 80 years of experience at the centre.
WHAT THE CUT MEANS
The 50% budget cut has effectively crippled the centre. The last remaining service of it’s kind, it has stood as a bastion of hope and help for people in Camden suffering from long-term severe mental illness.
The cut will spell the end the service; it is to exist in name only, a shadow of it’s former self.
The cut means the already tiny staff team of 7 will be reduced to just 3; they are still expected to provide an effective service for 65 patients in their care. In addition to this, the open-ended support offered to ex-patients is to be terminated leaving over 100 without proper support.
Although it’s an NHS service, it’s funded by the local authority (London Borough of Camden), councillors decided to make this cut in order to save the borough just £130,000. This is from a service with an annual budget of only £270,000 which proved sufficient to allow the team of just 7 staff to give meaningful, life changing care and support to approximately 200 of the borough’s most severely unwell.
The chief executive of the Camden and Islington Foundation Trust receives an annual salary of £130,000.
These changes are to be implemented by January 2016.
WHY WE OPPOSE THE CUTS
As service users, we vehemently oppose the cuts being made. Not simply because we love our centre and will deeply mourn its loss, but because of the cuts manner in which they were conceived and implemented.
They are unjust: Highgate was cut than that made to comparative services. Despite the fact that the demand for Highgate
They have been made arbitrarily: