Ser­vice an Oa­sis of wellbeing


Star Courier (Surrey & Hants) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Oa­sis, at 86 Cove Road, is a drop- in ser­vice pro­vid­ing peo­ple with a safe place where they can talk to trained staff or each other.

This kind of sup­port has been shown to im­prove con­di­tions and pre­vent men­tal health prob­lems, which in turn eases pres­sure on GPs and A& E de­part­ments.

The ser­vice be­gan in April on a six- month trial ba­sis af­ter res­i­dents and men­tal health vol­un­tary work­ers in­sisted there was a need for men­tal health sup­port in the town.

It is led by Just Wellbeing, which al­ready runs a sim­i­lar ser­vice called the Young Per­sons’ Safe Haven, in Alder­shot.

Fund­ing has been sup­plied by North East Hamp­shire and Farn­ham Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group ( CCG).

Dr Nick Hughes, a Farn­bor­ough GP and di­rec­tor of the area’s GP fed­er­a­tion, said: “We asked peo­ple who use men­tal health ser­vices what sup­port they needed in Farn­bor­ough.

“They told us that, while there is a very good men­tal health cri­sis ser­vice at the Safe Haven in Alder­shot, some­thing lo­cal was needed.”

The ser­vice op­er­ates from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, seven days a week.

In June, The Oa­sis was vis­ited by 32 peo­ple on 195 sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions.

Most vis­i­tors were from Farn­bor­ough with others from Alder­shot, Frim­ley and Cam­ber­ley.

Judi Page, di­rec­tor of Just Wellbeing, said: “Our ex­pe­ri­ence shows that for peo­ple in men­tal health cri­sis, hav­ing a nearby ser­vice that is easy to ac­cess is so im­por­tant. We have helped to pre­vent their sit­u­a­tions from de­te­ri­o­rat­ing fur­ther.

“This means they didn’t come to any harm, nor was there a need for them to go to A& E, which can of­ten hap­pen.”

If staff at The Oa­sis feel that a vis­i­tor needs more clin­i­cal psy­chi­atric sup­port, trans­port is ar­ranged to take them to the Safe Haven in Alder­shot and bring them home.

Dr Andy Whit­field, clin­i­cal chair­man of the CCG, said: “This ser­vice has come about as a di­rect re­sult of lo­cal peo­ple ap­proach­ing us and telling us that there was a need.

“It is good to see that it has been well- re­ceived and that it is al­ready mak­ing a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence to peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems.”

One of the vis­i­tors to The Oa­sis is 42- year- old Shaun Carter, who re­cently re­turned from a five- year stay in Aus­tralia where he was work­ing as a con­struc­tion site man­ager.

Hav­ing split from his part­ner, Mr Carter, orig­i­nally from Alder­shot, is cur­rently sleep­ing on the floor of his mother’s onebed­room flat in Farn­bor­ough.

He said The Oa­sis had been an im­por­tant source of help while he strug­gles to se­cure ac­com­mo­da­tion, work and ac­cess to his chil­dren.

“It has an im­por­tant so­cial fac­tor,” he said.

“Peo­ple might ar­rive feel­ing sad but they can get some coun­selling and go home feel­ing they have been heard.

“They have pointed me to the coun­cil, Job Cen­tre and Cit­i­zens’ Ad­vice Bu­reau, and writ­ten a let­ter so I don’t have to keep go­ing through my story and the feel­ings it drags up. Any day can be a living hell and it’s a strug­gle to keep go­ing, but com­ing here makes it feel less over­whelm­ing and gives me some of my con­fi­dence back. I can talk about my prob­lems openly with peo­ple who are in cir­cum­stances.

“We can share sim­i­lar our experiences and ev­ery­one else ben­e­fits.

“Knowl­edge is power.”

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