City of York Council welcomes safe haven funding

City of York Council has been awarded £178,200 to create a Safe Haven at Sycamore House to provide a place of safety ‘out of hours’ for people who are at risk of experiencing mental health crisis.

The Department of Health funding is being made available to improve places of safety across the country, providing places of sanctuary for people experiencing out-of-hours mental distress and open access and multi-agency support for anybody who attends.

As part of the project, Sycamore House will be refurbished and the design of the facility will focus on elements that can make a positive contribution to good mental health – ease of access, light, tranquillity, and a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere.

The Safe Haven will operate in addition to the support already provided by Sycamore House, which currently hosts a range of services for mental health service users to aid recovery.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "Mental illness is not a crime - we want to end the scandal of people in crisis being unnecessarily locked up in a police cell. I am delighted that York has been awarded a share of this funding so it can invest in safe places and make sure people get the best support.

"We have made monumental strides in the way we think about and treat mental illness in this country in the last few years, but we must accelerate progress even further. Our shared vision of a seven day mental health service means people will get the care they need, when they need it.”

Councillor Carol Runciman, City of York Council’s executive member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “This funding is very welcome and will help us provide support to those who need it outside of daytime hours. The support offered by the Safe Haven can be as simple as having a cup of tea and a chat or addressing the isolation that many people with mental health difficulties experience. It is hoped that many users will feel able to access support from the Safe Haven and it can make a real difference to residents across the city.”