New review on threat to Dudley drop-in centre future

A new consultation is being held over the future of a drop -in centre for people who suffer mental health problems in Dudley.

People who use Dove House have also started to apply for grants and intend to hold fundraising events to keep the centre open.

It comes after charity Dudley Mind, which runs the centre, revealed plans to end drop -in centre services at Dove House earlier this year.

The move provoked dismay from people who regularly had sessions at Dove House, which is based on the grounds of Dudley’s Bushey Fields Hospital. The centre provides a range of day activities and also serves as a meeting place each week for those who use it.

However, the charity said it wanted to move its services into the community as part of a new programme called Empowering Recovery in the Community.

Under the scheme, the drop-in facilities would be run at other locations, such as community centres, and peer support groups will also be started. A weekly advice and support surgery was also planned.

The building, in Bushey Fields Road, on the Russells Hall estate, would then be taken over for use by inpatients from the hospital’s wards during the run-up to leaving hospital.

But the charity put the plans on hold after campaigners held public protests against the move. Now a new consultation meeting is due to take place on September 3 at Dove House to discuss the issue.

Campaigners as well as health bosses and officials from Dudley Mind are expected to attend the meeting which starts at 11am.

One of the campaigners, Joy Collins, welcomed the meeting saying the centre helps provide companionship. “No decisions concerning Dove House should be made until this meeting has taken place,” said Miss Collins.

“Furthermore service users at Dove House have themselves begun trying to gain funding for the facility.

“One application for funding has already been made by us. We are also looking into applying for funding from the lottery and holding our own fundraising events such as table-top sales.”

Dudley Mind chief executive Martin Mueller today said: “The original plans for changes to our services were halted following concerns raised by the service users.

“We worked with representatives of the service users and the local authority and health commissioners to put together a series of consultation questions to be asked of service users.

“The meeting on September 3 is between the service user representatives, Dudley Mind and commissioners from Dudley Council and Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group to consider the outcomes of the process to date and to commence discussions on the best way forward.”