Demand growing for under-threat Buxton mental health charity

The Grapevine Centre, Buxton.
The Grapevine Centre, Buxton.
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Buxton’s volunteer mental health charity could face closure – despite growing demand for its services across the High Peak.

The Grapevine Wellbeing Centre on the Market Place says it hasn’t got enough chairs at times for all the people attending its six-day-a-week drop-in services, and the numbers taking part in its self-help groups is also rising.

But with funding from trusts and charities drying up in the face of overwhelming demand as Government cuts put pressure on the voluntary sector, the Grapevine’s vital service is under threat at a time when it is needed most, says trustee Julian Cohen.

“There are often not enough chairs to seat everyone,” said Julian of the drop-in service which is open Monday to Saturday from 12.30pm to 3.30pm.

“The drop-in is a real haven, develops mutual support and confidence and is a route for many into other services and activities.”

The Grapevine is now seeking £25,000 a year from the NHS to support is work – money which he believes its work in prevention and advice can easily save the community in reducing the calls for help on GPs and hospitals.

“We are a very cost-effective service, and wish to do more and develop further support for people who experience mental health difficulties,” added Julian.

“While most service users live in Buxton, some come from as far afield as Whaley Bridge, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and surrounding villages.”

A new part-time centre manager has brought great energy to the project, he added, and its services are being more widely promoted to such an extent that The Grapevine needs to expand into larger premises if it is to meet its potential.

But without the support from the NHS it faces face closure – putting a far larger financial burden on the taxpayer.