Vulnerable people needing urgent mental health crisis support are to benefit from a dedicated new service ‘Haven’, which launched on 9 August 2016 for people in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven.


The Cellar Trust, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, and Bradford Metropolitan District Council have been working in partnership to open the new service as a safe, specialised and supportive place in the local community for those in mental distress to visit as an alternative to the A&E department.  This partnership working reflects the government’s Five Year Forward View strategy for mental health, which highlights the importance of services being embedded in the local community and voluntary sector, with greater focus on peer support from people with lived experience of mental health problems.


Haven is based at our site in Shipley where we have a 30 year track record of supporting people with mental health problems from across Bradford and will offer a non-clinical environment for vulnerable people in distress to access support. The focus will be on helping to reduce distress and then empowering people to develop wellness and safety plans to help them to build their resilience and access the support they need to stay well.


The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Geoff Reid has backed the new service and will officially open Haven during the launch event.


Haven builds on the success of the First Response crisis telephone line and Sanctuary (a night time crisis service based at Mind in Bradford). Such services have already resulted in people being cared for closer to home, with no out of area placements in the last year – placements that cost £1.8 million the previous year.   This has reduced pressure on other services like A&E and achieved a significant reduction in people detained under section 136 – which gives police the power to take someone to a place of safety.  The Care Trust, council, police and other partners have been national leaders in this area of work as part of the ‘Crisis Care Concordat’ multi agency partnership. Bradford has been cited as an example of best practice alongside the national five year forward view mental health taskforce report – published by NHS England. It is anticipated that Haven will further reduce the number of people presenting at A&E for unnecessary admissions where more appropriate support is available.


Kim Shutler, CEO, The Cellar Trust said: “It is brilliant to be able to offer this service in a non-clinical setting, based in the local community but in partnership with NHS and social care services to ensure that care is joined up. That is the key. People do not care who it is delivering the service as long as it is accessible, good quality and meeting needs in a holistic manner. Thanks to the support of local business Knightsbridge Furniture, who have kindly provided the furniture for the Haven, we have been able to create an environment which is far more akin to your living room than a hospital or doctor’s surgery”.


Debra Gilderdale, Deputy Director of Mental Health Acute and Community Services said: ‘It is important that we are developing services together with our local communities for people requiring care and support around their mental health.  Haven demonstrates what can be achieved by working as a whole system to ensure positive experiences and outcomes.


“The service is available seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be accessed through the Trust’smental health crisis support service – First Response.  People in crisis can ring for help from trained staff who can refer them to Haven.  The new service offers a non-clinical environment for people to access and is manned by staff and also volunteers that have personal experience of mental health issues.  As well as signposting people to services, the Haven will offer peer support groups, mindfulness and relaxation sessions as well as access to a range of therapies and social care services.”


Nick Smith, a Governor at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust has lived experience of mental health crisis and had his first suicidal thought at the age of nine. Nearly thirty years on, Nick now helps to support vulnerable people that have suffered emotionally or experienced a mental health crisis through his peer support group, which he runs through the Trust’s Champions Show the Way programme. Nick has welcomed the opening of Haven, which alongside trained professionals will have peer support workers and volunteers working at the centre with lived expertise of mental health crisis.


Nick said: “When I hear things about Haven I’m all for it because Bradford District Care Trust and the Cellar Trust already have a distinctive reputation in the community for helping people with mental health problems.  When they said they wanted to set up a service for people in a crisis and they wouldn’t need to go to A&E, because if you are in a crisis – which I have been many, many times, that’s where you go – I thought it was a brilliant idea.”


The Haven service will play a vital role in identifying crisis triggers early and preventing a crisis from escalating. People in the local area, when they reach out to services for help and support, will receive the right help, with kind and compassionate staff at the times when they need them most, without having to attend A&E.


Mark Trewin, service manager for mental health at Bradford Council, said: “Bradford Council is very pleased to be able to support the opening of ‘Haven’. The council is committed to offering more services based in the community and with our voluntary and community sector partners. This is an innovative community based project where the NHS, Social Care and Voluntary sector can work together to provide the best possible service to people in crisis.”


People in crisis can access Haven via the Care Trust’s First Response Service, Telephone 01274 221181.

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