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New mental health crisis café to open in Wirral

A new mental health crisis cafe is to open in Wirral for local residents from 1pm on Monday 6 September.

The space, called Compañeros, has been jointly developed between Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local organisation, the Spider Project.

Compañeros is Spanish for companion or friend. The name was devised by Spider Project with help from their members and aims to capture the ethos of the service. The team will make it a welcoming, friendly and safe environment.

It will be open from 1pm - 10 pm, seven-days-a-week and located at 2a Price Street, Hamilton Square, CH41 6JN. The service is open to adults aged 18 and over. People can access the service in a variety of ways including walk in’s or self-referrals. Appointments are not needed. GPs can also refer into the service. The service is contactable from 1pm on Monday 6 September on 0151 488 8135.

Sean Boyle, CWP clinical director said: “The space will offer a safe place for adults suffering a mental health crisis with experienced staff members on hand for support. It will be a calming environment, with access to one-to-one crisis intervention, wellbeing recovery projects, creative arts and other essential social and emotional support.”

The development of Compañeros is in line with the NHS Long Term Plan, which references ‘crisis cafes’ as a model of good practice for mental health. Evidence shows similar models elsewhere have had a positive impact on patient experience and outcomes as well as reducing pressure on acute emergency services.

The service will complement the already-existing Freephone Urgent Mental Health crisis line, provided by CWP. The crisis telephone line is open to Wirral residents of all ages, 24/7 and can be accessed by calling 0800 145 6485. The crisis line can also refer people to Compañeros when appropriate.

Mel Bowen, creative director at the Spider Project, said: “Spider Project is absolutely delighted to be able to offer the Compañeros Café to Wirral residents. It will provide a safe and calm space for people to receive the support and advice required to help de-escalate crisis whilst also building people’s resilience and social connection to foster crisis prevention.”

“Compañeros experienced staff and volunteers will provide a non-clinical, creative recovery model aimed at reducing crisis presentation and when appropriate, directing people away from clinical services such as A&E.”

Hannah Lewis, commissioning manager, NHS Wirral CCG, said: “Community services like Compañeros have become even more crucial following the COVID-19 Pandemic and the impact it has had on people’s lives, their livelihoods and health and mental wellbeing.”

“The Spider Project is well established in the local community, having provided wellbeing services in Wirral since 2007. We hope the service will help make a real impact in addressing, supporting and preventing poor mental health in the local area”