Chelsey steps in to launch mental health drop-in group

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 March 2017

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An Exmouth man is hoping to launch a lifeline service after it was announced a vital drop-in centre for mental health patients in the town will close next month.

Mental health charity Rethink has a facility in Meeting Street, where people who are recovering from mental illness can get support. It has been revealed by the charity that people will no longer be able to ‘drop-in’ at the Exmouth centre as of next month.

Now, Chelsey Lloyd, 53, of Albion Street, a regular visitor to the centre, is setting up a new drop-in service to offer people a place to ‘feel safe’.

Chelsey suffered brain damage at the age of three and said that he has worked his whole life to ‘love’ people.

He said: “It saddened my heart to hear that the drop-in centre was going.

“At the moment, the news is rattling a few people.”

From next month, people will have to be referred to the service by medical professionals, such as GPs.

A Rethink spokesman said: “We will continue to work with many of the people we are currently working with, but those who aren’t deemed to be ‘most in need’ will be helped to find support elsewhere.

“Devon County Council has made the decision to change the way mental health services are delivered and, while we recognise the challenges they face in having to make tough decisions with a limited budget, we also know how vital it is that people have access to good quality mental health support.

“We are working with everyone who is currently using our service - many will continue to get support when the new model starts in April, and for those who won’t, we are working with them to access other support.”

The 53-year-old has approached Exmouth Library with the idea of hosting a twice-weekly group meeting to allow people who benefited from the drop-in service to have a safe place to go.

Chelsey added: “When people used the rethink group the place has got that security for them and in their minds they are scared now.

“They have been used to that building for a very long time and going to a new environment is scary.”

The Key Centre will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11am to 12.30pm, from next month. Those who attend can have a chat and some food with those who are suffering with similar conditions.

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