Newly-improved Hellingly mental health centre can’t be beaten

Chris Hardy is impressed with the Hellingly Centre

The chairman of Wealden council has praised a newly-improved rehabilitation centre which supports those with mental health issues in Hellingly.

Councillor Chris Hardy returned this week and was full of admiration for the finished result at The Hellingly Centre.

The new allotment

He said, “We are so impressed with the new facilities available to patients which play such a huge part in their rehabilitation.

“The welcome and obvious passion the staff have for their jobs were equally impressive and we hope to return to the centre in the coming months to support their summer activity days. We are very grateful to the Matron, Anita Lambert, for showing us around the Centre.

“But they do need support in the form of any donations of books, DVDs and toys for their family visitation room.”

The Hellingly Centre provides care and treatment to people aged 18-65 years old who have mental health issues, some of whom have also had involvement with the criminal justice system.

The new log cabin

Its team of approximately 200 staff currently care for 55 patients and help with their rehabilitation, developing their confidence and day-to-day life skills to better equip them for life in the local community.

The Hellingly Centre is run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which was recently awarded an overall rating of ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission, and assessed as ‘Outstanding’ for caring.

Matron Anita has worked at Hellingly since she was 17 years old. She said, “I absolutely love my job; I find it extremely rewarding and enjoy the positive, therapeutic and professional relationship we have with our patients.”

The Centre’s staff and patients frequently take part in fundraising activities, through Sussex Partnership’s official charity, Heads On, to improve and develop the Centre.

Two of their recent successes are The Log Cabin which provides a venue to hold workshops such as woodwork, arts and crafts and The Allotment which the patients tend to and grow fresh vegetables.

The Elm building holds a patient gym, music therapy room, a spiritual room, a pottery room and funding has been secured to develop a sports pitch which will be another asset to the Centre and no doubt, very popular with patients.

Patients’ skills and talents are carefully nurtured and encouraged by the hospital staff and there is some beautiful artwork, created by the patients on display, throughout the Centre.

The Centre will soon be joined by a functional skills tutor offering basic English and maths lessons and they are working in partnership with Sussex Downs College with the aim of offering more educational and vocational courses.

And Badgers café is a rehabilitation café run by patients where they are able to learn skills such as food preparation, till management and customer service.

As well as holding a Carer’s Day once or twice a year, every Thursday the Centre hosts a Carer’s Forum giving people the opportunity to share thoughts, concerns and ideas but most importantly to provide support to each other.

If members of the public want to make donations of books, DVDs and toys to the Centre, please contact the team at The Drive, Hailsham, BN27 4EP, telephone 01323 440022.

For more information visit www.sussexpartnerhip.nhs.uk or to make a donation go to www.headsoncharity.org

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