Mental Health Patients Get Halfway House

An abandoned children’s home in Bolton is to be reopened as a rehabilitation house for people with mental heath problems. The former children’s home was closed six years ago following a campaign by residents, many of them elderly, who claimed they were being terrorised by the children placed there. The home was used as a crisis and respite centre for nine to 16-year-olds. Bolton Council decided to close it and replace the unit with facilities elsewhere. Since then, the home has remained empty and has become a target for vandals.

But now housing association, the Great Places Housing Group, and Bolton Social Services, want to refurbish the building for £500,000 to provide rehabilitation for up to seven people with mental health problems who have been discharged from hospital but are not yet ready to live independently.

The residents will live at the home, which will be staffed around the clock, for between six and 12 months before moving into their own homes. And the residents, both men and women, will be cared for by nursing staff, psychiatrists, occupational therapists and residential carers.

Building work is expected to start next month and will be completed by May next year.

The first residents, who have mental health problems but are not violent or criminals, will then move into the home, which will not be a locked facility.

“The project has gone through a full and lengthy consultation process and the team behind it have attended a number of neighbourhood meetings,” said a spokesman for Bolton, Salford and Trafford Mental Health NHS Trust.

“No one has had a problem, including the local neighbourhood group who have expressed delight in the project securing £500,000 funding to renovate the building, which has been vandalised because it has stood empty for some time.”

Breightmet councillor Bob Wilkinson has attended some of the meetings and says it will be advantageous to have the rehabilitation house in the area. “I can see no problems. It is far better to have this than have the building vandalised,” he said.

Steve Wooley, chairman of the North Breightmet Area Committee, said: “We were given a presentation about the proposal to renovate the building. Our aim is to improve the environment and appearance of the estate. I don’t have any problems with how the building is used.”