Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care Councillor Ed Davie praised the work of the Evening Sanctuary and said he was proud of it going seven days a week following his visit to the official launch on May 23.
Cllr Davie (pictured top left, with James Dastoor) said, “Speaking to staff, volunteers and users of the service it’s clear the sanctuary provides a useful alternative to clinical care. Obviously there are times when a person in crisis needs medical attention,” a point highlighted by the Living Well Network (of which the Sanctuary is a part) running its regular Open Event on crisis services at the launch, “but a lot of people have been supported to get through a bad episode at the sanctuary,” he said.
His words were echoed by Stephanie Correia, Chief Executive of SRA Southside Rehabilitation Association. “I think the Sanctuary is an essential part of the mental health service in Lambeth, especially now that it is a 7 day a week service. It’s good to know that there is something there for people in times of crisis.” she said.
Also attending, Sue Field, Programme Director of the Living Well Network Alliance described the sanctuary as “a core component of our new transformation programme in being able to support people in a crisis at an earlier point, therefore avoiding hospital admission. The sanctuary provides more options for people who would benefit from a peer led approach,” she said.
Peer supporters praised
Visitors at the launch were invited into the welcoming and cosy front room where those facing a crisis often spend time during their stay, anything from 6pm – 2am. On hand were main Sanctuary workers Jane Sabar, Catherine Hahn, Alex Kidd and Luke Doolin – Catherine and Luke are the seniors. Volunteer Elizabeth shared some of her experiences since starting and there was praise for the peer supporters involved, who share their own lived experience and empathy to get people through those dark times. The kitchen Mosaic Clubhouse members dished up excellent homemade snacks – perhaps even more important to remember in this National Volunteers Week (June 1-7).
Visitors were also able to pick up a copy of ‘Driving through the Storm’, the latest of four information booklets, which focuses on getting through a crisis. See link below.
Chief Executive Chris Thomas reported at a recent Collaborative breakfast that the Sanctuary is getting 7-10 people a night , with increasing referrals coming from external sources and GPs. On a wellbeing measure, people were marking feeling 5 out of 10 on their arrival and leaving on a 7.
The Sanctuary has come a long way from its launch 3 nights a week in 2015 (after a 3-month prototype) to 5 nights in 2017 and 7 since April 1 and being nominated for a Working Together 2016 Lammy Award (NHS Lambeth CCG).
Cllr Ed Davie sums it up thus: “A mental health crisis can happen at any time so I am really proud we have been able to extend this service to seven nights a week. Lambeth Together is all about working collaboratively to provide the support people need and this a great example of service users, a charity, council and NHS doing just that.”
Pictured top left: Clubhouse Member with Cllr Ed Davie and shots from the cosy front room where visitors met and chatted with staff and peer supporters at the launch.
In memory of Damien Biggam and Linda O’Neill, former sanctuary workers who both passed away over the last year.
Click here for link to Driving through the Storm.
Follow these links to some Sanctuary stories