Thousands back mental health petition

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the closure of a mental health drop-in centre in Ipswich have vowed to continue their battle today after collecting more than 3,000 signatures on a petition.

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the closure of a mental health drop-in centre in Ipswich have vowed to continue their battle today after collecting more than 3,000 signatures on a petition.

Those using Bridge House day centre in Lower Brook Street have spent the last week campaigning tirelessly to protect their service.

The centre is being threatened with closure along with Old Fox House clubhouse in Stowmarket and Hollies garden centre at St Clement's.

The decision over their future lies with Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust (SMHPT) who need to make savings of £5 million by March next year.


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Those using the service have now presented a petition to Ipswich MP Chris Mole, hoping his influence may help their campaign.

Angela Wright, 33, has been using the service for five years.

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She said: "We have been campaigning for just over a week and have collected 3,101 signatures. We have got two board members from the SMHPT on the petition. A number of staff who work here have signed including members of the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT).

"Some people here will be devastated if we close. For a lot of people this has caused them anxiety. As well as coping with mental health problems we are having to campaign as well and that is very stressful.

"We have been trying to pull together and put a brave front on and we have done our best to do what we can in what little time we have been given but that has been a great stress."

Bridge House caters for adults with mental health problems and there are fears that its users may be admitted to hospital if the centre closes.

Chris Mole MP for Ipswich, said: "The people locally have got to make the decision. I will make sure they understand the strength of feeling in Ipswich.

"This is an important service which will, if it can be sustained head of long term costs by reducing admission into St Clement's.

"I am keen to see this service maintained if at all possible."

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