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Funding boost to improve Wirral mental health crises services

A proposal to open a mental health crisis café for people in Wirral has received a share of a £15 million government grant, aiming to provide improved crisis support nationally.

Crisis cafes are a relatively recent development in the health service. They offer a drop-in service for anyone aged 18 and over, who find themselves in a crisis or need support with their mental health. They also give people experiencing a mental health crisis an alternative to Accident and Emergency (A&E) for assessment and support. 

Sponsored by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), the project involves multiple stakeholders and is supported by key partners including NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS Wirral CCG), Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust, the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Merseyside Police, The Spider Project and other local third sector organisations.

The café aims to expand on the existing Spider Project service in Wirral. Having existed in the local area since 2007, the Spider Project has proven itself highly adept at providing a creative arts and wellbeing recovery community service.

51 projects across the country were awarded funds from the Department of Health’s £15million Beyond Places of Safety initiative. The Wirral Partners will use a capital investment of £707,000 from the fund to develop the café, and to refurbish a suite at Clatterbridge as a mental health assessment area.

The award of the grant was welcomed by both the NHS Wirral CCG and local partners.

Dr Sue Wells, Chair of NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The crisis café will be a very welcome addition to our current services in Wirral. The community setting and the fact it will be a drop in service plays an important part in opening up mental health crisis support to those who need it. We hope it will make people feel less isolated, and more able to access help that can prevent a crisis escalating further. This is an innovative approach, and an example of what can be achieved when we work in partnership.”

Suzanne Edwards, CWP associate director of operations said:  

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this grant, along with our local partners. This is a great opportunity to improve our already excellent services that we provide to local people. It is vitally important that people experiencing a mental health crisis have the support they need readily available.

“We also recognise the need to ensure that people are seen in the most appropriate setting possible, relevant to their needs. I look forward to working with our local partners to ensure that this project is carried out successfully to the benefit of those accessing the service.”

Mel Bowen, Creative Director of The Spider Project said:

“At present, if people have a mental health crisis, they either don’t know where to go, or they end up in A&E, which often isn’t the best place for them. The new crisis café will offer a place of safety, calm and support within the local community. People will be able to access specialist in reach mental health support, advice and guidance and also participate in our various activities and courses to enable people’s long term recovery."