Lifeline Mental Health Service To Be Closed

A Lifeline for Weymouth residents is due to be axed – three days before Christmas. Workers at a service providing crucial support for people with mental health difficulties fear the closure will leave more than 100 residents isolated at the most difficult time of the year. United Response, based in St Mary Street, has been told funding has dried up.

Volunteer Ann Haycock said: “I imagine it will leave some people so socially isolated that they feel their life’s not worth living. It’s going to be extremely detrimental to people’s health and I think it’s very bad timing.”

United Response has supported people in Weymouth and west Dorset since 2001. The drop-in centre provides training and helps vulnerable people find work. Staff said the closure will be a huge setback for people who use the service, and those now supported in work placements will lose their jobs.

Ms Haycock, a service user who now works for United Response, added: “Normally the service closes over Christmas and a lot of us who are socially isolated for two or three weeks can’t wait to get back in January. But now we have nothing to come back to.”

National charity United Response has subsidised the Weymouth project for a year to try and keep it going. Now the subsidy has dried up the charity is relying on Dorset Primary Care Trust (PCT) or social services to fund the scheme, but has been told money is not available.

Brian Goodrum, of Dorset PCT, said: “Unfortunately Dorset PCT and the county council are not able to provide funding to enable United Response to continue for another year without putting our own services in jeopardy. We will provide support to all those clients who feel they have a continuing need for the kind of support United Response provides.”

Dorset County Council social services have pledged to look into how their community employment services could help maintain supported work placements.