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Criticism as hours reduced at Penzance's Richmond House resource centre

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: November 19, 2013

  • Criticism as hours reduced at Penzance's Richmond House resource centre

  • Patient Lisa Farrar.

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A CLIENT with mental health problems has criticised a Penzance self-help resource centre which has changed the way it operates.

Richmond House, in Tolver Road, offers group activities to promote independence, raise confidence and self-esteem for those with mental health issues.

But the number of hours that clients can attend the centre are being cut – some people can only use the centre seven hours a week – and they say that is having an adverse effect on their health and wellbeing.

Lisa Farrar, who has been using the facility for ten years, said: "Richmond House is a fantastic place to go if you have mental health issues.

"It's a real sanctuary, the staff are passionate about providing a good service and the socialising and interaction you get there is so important.

"But the hours I can go there have been reduced and it is making me feel poorly and more isolated. There are plenty of other people in the same situation and all that is going to happen is that more people will get ill or be roaming the streets causing trouble.

"I've seen good and bad changes in the treatment of people with mental health problems and I know how they affect people. I want to get these changes reversed – I'm not going to lie down and take this."

However, Colin Quick, associate director of Community Mental Health Services, says day services now offer twice as much activity and that efforts have been made to move away from ad-hoc drop-in facilities and offer more structured activities.

"The structured activities have been designed to help people to regain skills, while accessing practical advice to help them overcome their current problems," he said.

"An important part of the work the day services do is to help people to access activities and opportunities in their local community."

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