London

Warning as Hounslow mental health centre faces closure

Number 10
Image caption The Number 10 project may need to vacate 10 School Road to make way for a school expansion

The closure of a mental health centre will cause people to "take their own lives", a service user has warned.

The Number 10 Project in Hounslow, west London, faces closure after the council approved a scheme to expand a nearby primary school.

The centre, which helps people recover in the community, is used by more than 500 people.

Hounslow Council said "steps are being taken" to work out "alternative provision".

If the plans go ahead, the Number 10 project will have to find a new premises from which to operate or, if no suitable alternative can be found, have to close, the centre said.

It provides a support service for people with mental health issues and works with a diverse range of patients but risks being closed by September.

Service user Karen Tolley said: "A lot of people will be isolated. People will take their own lives because they have nowhere to go, no support from other people."

Image caption Counsellor Kalyani Siraj fears the women she works with will become isolated when the centre closes in September

Kalyani Siraj, a counsellor who runs an Asian women's group, said some users live "Friday to Friday".

"They don't come out," she said. "And I fear they will be isolated. If this group closes there's nowhere I can take them."

The planned expansion of Hounslow Town Primary School will create an additional 420 school places, a new facility for children with special educational needs, a new music centre and 250 new homes.

John Viner, from the Number 10 Project, said: "No-one here disagrees with the council identifying and needing to build more primary schools. But this is a vital service, a vital lifeline that we cannot afford to lose."

A spokesperson from the London Borough of Hounslow said no decision had been taken yet to demolish Number 10 Project.

A planning application still needs to be submitted before any building work can get under way.

The spokesperson said: "Steps are being taken, in discussion with West London Mental Health Trust, to determine specific needs so that the important functions being delivered to 10 School Road can continue to be delivered in an alternative provision."

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