Ashcroft Centre: Talks in bid to save women's mental health unit

Anxious women Image copyright PA
Image caption The future of the Ashcroft Centre for women with mental health issues is in doubt over budget cuts

Talks aimed at averting the closure of a centre offering care services for women with mental health problems in Norfolk have begun.

The BBC revealed last week the county council was not renewing its block contract for seven beds at the Ashcroft Centre in Wicklewood.

The council would not accept a weekly rate of £650 per person.

Now Julian Support, which runs the centre, is in new talks with the council looking at how to keep it open.

'Securing centre's future'

Last week Julian Support said it was restructuring all its services and the Ashcroft Centre was facing closure in March when the county council contract was due to end.

Ben Curran, head of operations at Julian Support, said: "Cuts will have an impact on other services we provide for the community and staff at Ashcroft now face an uncertain future."

Julian Support and Norfolk County Council said in a joint statement following a morning meeting: "We both recognise that Ashcroft is a valuable service that provides very specific support to a number of vulnerable women.

"Julian Support has been able to identify ways to reduce their costs and the council has increased its funding offer to a level which Julian Support believe would enable them to continue providing a safe and good quality level of care for the seven beds purchased by the council.

"In addition, the council will continue to work with Julian Support to try to increase the viability of the home and make the service's future more secure.

"Both Julian Support and the county council are aware that the uncertainty surrounding Ashcroft has caused a lot of concern, particularly among those who are currently being supported at the home or who have benefitted from the service in the past, and we are keen to work together to find a solution."

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