Charity partnership helps to construct future of rehabilitation in North East

A local mental health charity has partnered with a national industry charity to help expand its rehabilitation services in South East Northumberland.

Blyth Star Enterprises, which provides living support, work experience and day services for people living with learning disabilities and lifelong mental health issues is working with national construction charity, CRASH, alongside 16 other charities, on the development of two new apartments at its Old Chandlery facility in Blyth.

Already operating 7 supported living apartments in the town, the addition of the new living spaces will enable Blyth Star Enterprises to expand its services to help more people living with complex mental health problems on their journey to recovery.

Gordon Moore, chief executive officer at Blyth Star Enterprises, said:

“The rehabilitation services on offer at Blyth Star provide a pathway from hospital to independent living and help people living with lifelong disabilities to develop or regain the skills and confidence they need to live safely and autonomously within their local communities.

“Recent reports have identified that many people living with mental health problems across the UK are being detained unnecessarily in psychiatric hospitals due to the lack of community-led rehabilitation facilities available.

“This is an issue that we have been working to address within Northumberland through the provision of our living support services for the last 30 years and now, with support from CRASH, we are able to develop this further which is absolutely fantastic.”

Established in 1991, CRASH works alongside construction companies and charities to help convert or create living spaces for people in need.

By working collaboratively with companies across the construction industry, CRASH can help to source free or heavily discounted professional services and building materials to enable charities to create safe havens for their service users, whether this be temporary emergency accommodation, homeless shelters, day centres or even hospices.

Having heard about CRASH’s work on similar projects across the UK, Blyth Star Enterprises put forward an application to the charity’s board of trustees for a grant of £20,000 to help fund the apartment conversion project. CRASH not only approved the grant but donated many of the building materials needed to complete the project.

“The help and support of CRASH and the other charities involved has been invaluable in enabling this project to go ahead,” Gordon said.

“By utilising its contacts within the building industry, CRASH has saved us around £6,235 on the total building cost of the two new apartments by successfully sourcing materials such as plasterboards, flooring and even kitchens, free of charge.

“As an organisation, we seek to effect genuine change in people living with challenging and complex mental health needs through our rehabilitative framework, which inevitably results in our service users progressing to independent living as quickly as possible.

“The new apartments will provide an increased resource to enable Blyth Star to help more people in need and for that, we cannot thank CRASH enough for their dedication and support with this project.”

Claire English, projects and resources manager at CRASH, said:

“We were delighted to be able to support Blyth Star Enterprises with its conversion project at the Old Chandlery.

“At CRASH, we understand the difference that having somewhere safe to live can make to people when they’re at their most vulnerable and we’re dedicated to helping make a tangible difference to these people’s lives through the provision of quality building services, supplies and expertise.

“Blyth Star does some amazing work to support those living with severe and enduring mental ill health and learning disabilities across Northumberland and we hope that the addition of the new apartments will enable the organisation to help more people in the future.”

To find out more about Blyth Star Enterprises, visit www.blythstar.org.uk or for more information about CRASH, visit www.crash.org.uk.