ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has invited a key member of Labour’s front bench team to view an exemplary mental health charity which is threatened by Government cuts.
The Growth Project provides a safe and supportive environment for more than 80 Rochdale residents with mental health problems. But it could lose £20,000 worth of grants as Rochdale Council attempts to cope with unprecedented cuts from Central Government.
Visiting the site in Kellett Street, Mr Danczuk praised the scheme and promised to extend an invitation to Shadow Mental Health Minister Luciana Berger so she could see first hand the excellent work that goes on there.
The project, a joint venture between Rochdale and District Mind and Hourglass Environmental Ltd, promotes good mental and physical health by coordinating a variety of outdoor activities including woodwork and tending allotments.
During a House of Commons debate earlier this month, Mr Danczuk urged the Government to provide more funding for mental health services. He highlighted the need for schemes like the Growth Project in Rochdale where one in five people suffer from a mental health issue and the suicide rate has risen 25% in five years.
Suicide rates among men in Rochdale are significantly higher than the national average. Uniquely among mental health schemes, 75% of services users at the Growth Project are male.
In total, 88 beneficiaries regularly attend the Growth Project allotments and have helped transform unused land into a productive and attractive space. The £20,000 a year running cost represents just 50p per person per day.
Mr Danczuk said: “This visit as underlined for me just how vitally important the Growth Project is for Rochdale. This place really is a crucial lifeline for dozens of people who would otherwise have nowhere to go.
“I think other mental health projects could learn a lot from the work that goes on here and that is why I have invited Luciana Berger to visit and see how this success can be replicated.
“My office is also assisting staff to secure alternative sources of funding in case the council grant is removed.”
Hourglass Environment director Karen Hayday said: “We’re extremely grateful for what Simon has done. Everyone was amazed that we were mentioned in Parliament.
“It’s incredible that a £20,000 a year project is getting so much publicity. This place means so much to so many people, and we’d love for even more people to get involved and come and join us.”