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Break's Mental Health Service for Women transfers to Julian Support

The Ashcroft Project founded in 1986 for women suffering from severe and enduring emotional distress and long-term mental health problems has transferred to mental health charity, Julian Support. 

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The project was started by Cynthia Robinson and Jim and Sue Lynch in Wicklewood, Norfolk.  Cynthia, a Qualified Social Worker and Jim, a Probation Officer were acutely aware of the lack of suitable residential and supported housing facilities for women with mental health problems.

In 2007 the Ashcroft Board of Trustees sought to secure Ashcroft’s long-term financial future by transferring it to Break, a larger local charity.  Ashcroft came perilously close to closure, but following an outcry from the women who use the service and a swell of support from the local community, Break secured Ashcroft’s future and five years later it is a thriving therapeutic community.

The reasons for transferring Ashcroft Residential and Supported Housing to Julian Support are:

• Break is focusing on providing its core services to children, young people and their families.
• Both services would benefit from being part of a dedicated mental health provider to take service delivery to the next level.
• Julian Support is a well respected dedicated mental health and supported housing provider.
Here is a snapshot of some of the comments from women who have been part of Ashcroft:-

“Coming to Ashcroft has indeed been life changing for me and my family....for me it is life–affirming and a necessary tool in my survival-kit.  How lucky am I to be so close to one of only two units of its kind in the country?” – Amanda, a service user.

“I felt and still feel, part of the Ashcroft family and will never be able to find the right words of thanks and appreciation for all that Ashcroft is and will be to many in the future. I now have my life back.” –Sue, a service user.

Graeme Malcolm, Operations Manager, said, “Whilst Break is sad to be losing Ashcroft, we are happy to be transferring such a valued service to a dedicated local mental health charity.  The Ashcroft staff team is fully committed to delivering excellent services to women in severe emotional and mental distress.  There is unanimous support for the move to Julian Support, because staff can see that this will further improve the services that Ashcroft delivers”.

Pip Coker, Chief Executive of Julian Support, said, "It has been a pleasure working with Break to ensure the smooth transfer of what is a highly-regarded service.  We look forward to working alongside staff, and women who use the service, to continue to provide a resource that is so clearly valued".

"Julian Support has continued to grow & develop in recent years to offer housing related support to people with ongoing mental health difficulties in Norfolk and Suffolk. We are delighted to include Ashcroft in the range of services we provide. The very special nature of the service will lead to a greater range of choice for our service users. The experience and positivity of the staff team will also be a valuable asset to our organisation".  Rachel Omori, Operations Manager (Julian Support).

“Ashcroft has seen many changes over the last few years and this reflects the changes in mental health thinking and practice generally. Our move to Julian Support is the next step on that journey and as a staff team we remain committed to providing high standard of support to the women who use our service. The foundation of Ashcroft still remains true and we are sure that this move to a well respected mental health organisation will only enhance the work that we endeavour to undertake. We look forward to this new venture and working with our new colleagues.”  Penny Newton, Manager Residential.

“The time with Break has been positive but it will be very beneficial for these services to be in the hands of a mental health and housing support provider to secure the long term future.”  Debbie Chapman, Manager Supported Housing.

“Break is proud of the high quality services provided to women by the Supported Housing team over the last four years.  We believe that Julian Support is the best provider to hand over to as they have the experience and expertise to develop mental health and housing related support services.  Our aim is best possible outcomes for service users with a supportive staff group who are all positive about the changes.”  Anriette Mynhardt, Operations Manager.

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