People with mental health problems in Calderdale have been getting sociable thanks to Calderdale day service making changes. The new approach encourages people to engage more in their local communities.
The service has moved on from a traditional ‘drop in’ service and now operates in a café environment, where those who attend can get hot and cold drinks, relax in a comfortable area and browse the internet. People are free to socialise as much or as little as they like and talk to staff if they need to.
A number of the service’s old ‘in house’ activities have now moved into community settings. The art group have showcased their work at a special exhibition at Halifax Piece Hall, and service users that used to play pool at the old drop in centre have now started their own pool group at Halifax Snooker Club, where they meet weekly.
The service also now has two five-a-side football teams, both of which have competed in both the Trust’s Good Mood League and The North West Mental Health Football League. This has in turn prompted some service users to join independent community football teams.
Another big change has involved launching a vocational service for people who use the service. This has been set up to support people trying to return to employment, whether paid or voluntary, by learning new skills. For example, joinery sessions are available in the wood workshop, gardening is on offer through the allotment or partnerships with voluntary agencies, and people can develop their IT skills via the service’s partnership with local training providers.
The woodwork shop has created a range of garden products, and is looking at displaying these in local garden centres as a way of increasing links with local businesses and identifying more voluntary placements for service users.
The vocational service involves people improving their social skills, dealing with anxiety and confidence issues or simply increasing work stamina following periods away from work.
Day service coordinator Penny Moore said, ‘Calderdale’s day service has taken a new direction to encourage people with mental health problems to engage in community life and live more independently. Keeping busy is great for people’s mental health, but keeping busy whilst feeling a part of the local community is even better and helps people on the road to recovery.’