Safe Haven Open for Vulnerable People in Mental Health Crisis

    Vulnerable people needing urgent mental health crisis support are to benefit from a dedicated new service –‘Haven’, which has launched on 9 August 2016 for people in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven.

    The new service will ensure people get the right care, in the right place, with the right health or social care professional, close to home.


    Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, The Cellar Trust and Bradford Metropolitan District Council have been working in partnership to open the new project as a safe, specialised and supportive place in the local community for those in mental distress to visit as an alternative to the A&E department.  This partnership working reflects the five year forward view, which highlights the importance of services being embedded in the local community and voluntary sector, with greater focus on peer support.  Haven will offer a hub of support from key services to ensure vulnerable people’s needs are met and there is a joined up approach to their ongoing support.


    The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Geoff Reid has backed the new service and officially opened Haven at the launch event today. Guests in attendance had the opportunity to look around the new facility and meet Haven peer support workers who have lived expertise of mental health crisis.

    (The photo features from left to right:Trust Board Members: Michael Smith, Chair, Nicola Lees, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Nursing, Simon Large, Chief Executive with the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Geoff Reid, Lady Mayoress Chris Reid, Mark Trewin, Service Manager for Mental Health at Bradford Council and the Trust’s Debra Gilderdale, Deputy Director of Mental Health Acute and Community Services with Kim Shutler-Jones, Chief Executive, The Cellar Trust). 

    In support of the new service opening, Trust Board Members Simon Large, Chief Executive, Michael Smith, Chair, Nicola Lees, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Nursing and Debra Gilderdale, Deputy Director of Mental Health Acute and Community Services were at the launch, along with Kim Shutler-Jones, Chief Executive, The Cellar Trust and Mark Trewin, Service Manager for Mental Health at Bradford Council.

    Providing high quality care, Haven builds on the success of the First Response mental health crisis service, which offers mental health crisis support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This has resulted in people being cared for closer to home, with no out of area placements in the last year – that cost £1.8 million the previous year.   This has reduced pressure on other services like A&E and achieved a reduction in people detained under section 136 – which gives police the power to take someone to a place of safety.  The Care Trust, council, police and other partners have been national leaders in this area of work as part of the ‘Crisis Care Concordat’ multi agency partnership. Bradford has been cited as an example of best practice alongside the national five year forward view mental health taskforce report – published by NHS England. It is anticipated that the Haven will further reduce the number of people presenting at A&E for unnecessary admissions where more appropriate support is available.   

    Debra Gilderdale, Deputy Director of Mental Health Acute and Community Services said: ‘It is important that we are developing services together with our local communities for people requiring care and support around their mental health.  Haven demonstrates what can be achieved by working as a whole system to ensure positive experiences and outcomes.

    “The service is available seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be accessed through the Trust’s mental health crisis support service - First Response.  People in crisis can ring for help from trained staff who can refer them to Haven.  The new service offers a non-clinical environment for people to access and is manned by staff and also volunteers that have personal experience of mental health issues.  As well as signposting people to services, the Haven will offer peer support groups, mindfulness and relaxation sessions as well as access to a range of therapies and social care services.”

    Nick Smith, a Governor at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust has lived experience of mental health crisis and had his first suicidal thought at the age of nine. Nearly thirty years on, Nick now helps to support vulnerable people that have suffered emotionally or experienced a mental health crisis through his peer support group, which he runs through the Trust’s Champions Show the Way programme. Nick has welcomed the opening of Haven, which alongside trained professionals will have peer support workers and volunteers working at the centre with lived expertise of mental health crisis.

    Nick said: “When I hear things about Haven I’m all for it because Bradford District Care Trust and the Cellar Trust already have a distinctive reputation in the community for helping people with mental health problems.  When they said they wanted to set up a service for people in a crisis and they wouldn’t need to go to A&E, because if you are in a crisis – which I have been many, many times, that’s where you go - I thought it was a brilliant idea.”

    The Haven service will play a vital role in identifying crisis triggers early and preventing a crisis from escalating. People in the local area, when they reach out to services for help and support, will receive the right help, with kind and compassionate staff at the times when they need them most, without having to attend A&E.

    Based at The Cellar Trust in Shipley, Haven will be open seven days a week from 10 am to 6 pm and will offer a non-clinical environment for vulnerable people in distress to access support.  Trained specialists will be on hand to work with people to develop their plans to stay well and cope better with distress in the future.

    Haven will be running alongside the First Response service and the Sanctuary, a night-time mental health service, which is open from 6pm-11pm, based at Mind in Bradford. People attending the Sanctuary will also have the opportunity to be referred to Haven where appropriate for their wellness action plan.  The model has been progressed through the mental health liaison urgent and emergency care vanguard in West Yorkshire and there are now plans in the pipeline to roll out the model across the region.

    Kim Shutler-Jones, Chief Executive, The Cellar Trust said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to introduce a new model for supporting people. For us this joined up approach to supporting people, rather than working in silos, is the way forward. It is about a more holistic approach.”

    Kim added: “It’s great that we have support from local businesses like Knightsbridge Furniture who have kindly provided the furniture for the Haven - helping to ensure that it is a comfortable, welcoming and non-clinical environment.”

    Mark Trewin, Service Manager for Mental Health at Bradford Council, said: “Bradford Council is very pleased to be able to support the opening of ‘Haven’. The council is committed to offering more services based in the community and with our voluntary and community sector partners. This is an innovative community based project where the NHS, Social Care and Voluntary sector can work together to provide the best possible service to people in crisis.” 

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