St John’s Court going no where - secretary of state confirms

PUBLISHED: 13:31 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:31 28 November 2018

Dot Taylor met with Secretary of State for Health and Wellbeing Matt Hancock to discuss the future of St John's Court. Picture: Stuart Pilcher

Dot Taylor met with Secretary of State for Health and Wellbeing Matt Hancock to discuss the future of St John's Court. Picture: Stuart Pilcher

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An Exmouth mum who has campaigned against the planned closure of a ‘lifeline for the vulnerable’ has received Government confirmation about the facility’s future.

Dot after winning a member of the year award from Rethink for her work with mental health services in Exmouth. Picture: RethinkDot after winning a member of the year award from Rethink for her work with mental health services in Exmouth. Picture: Rethink

Dot Taylor has led a three-year crusade to save St John’s Court after NHS bosses announced in 2015 they were looking to re-locate mental health services.

Earlier this year the Journal reported that the Devon Partnership NHS Trust had announced it was scrapping plans to shut the unit down.

A letter seen by the Journal from Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock has confirmed that the chief executive of the trust has written to East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire to confirm there are ‘no plans’ to move the facility from St John’s Court.

In the letter, Mr Hancock, who met Mrs Taylor during a visit to the area earlier this year, said: “Since we met, I am aware that the chief executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Melanie Walker, has written to the Rt Hon Sir Hugo Swire MP to confirm that she will be in touch with both you and Sir Hugo if these plans change.”

Mrs Taylor has been recognised for her work in creating support group which ‘fills the gap’ between mental health services in Exmouth.

She was presented with a ‘member of the year’ award by national mental health charity Rethink after a double-page nomination letter from her son Crispin who has benefited from services offered at St John’s Court.

Dot, who won the award for her work in setting up a positive anxiety group in Exmouth, said: “I did not know he was nominating me.

“It was a complete surprise.”

Lara King, head of communications and membership at Rethink, congratulated the winner.

“Dot was nominated for her pivotal role in mental health in Exmouth and for going above and beyond to provide support to people severely affected by mental illness. Dot organises a support group which fills a gap in local mental health services,” she said.

“Mental illness can be isolating so we are really proud to have such an incredible network of members who are making a real difference in their communities.”

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