Funding helps mental health organisation expand services at new HQ

Wiltshire Mind’s new chief executive David McKeigue in its  offices in Melksham

Wiltshire Mind’s new chief executive David McKeigue in its offices in Melksham

First published in News

A mental health charity saved by an anonymous benefactor is relaunching, following the appointment of new chief executive David Mckeigue.

Wiltshire Mind was set to close in November after losing Wiltshire Council funding in 2010.

After the charity’s plight was reported in the Gazette, it was saved when a generous donor gave £50,000, and is now looking to expand.

The independent charity provides friendship and counselling for people with mental health disorders, including depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

New chief executive Mr Mckeigue, a 50-year-old management consultant, believes demand for the services it provides is growing.

He said: “Wiltshire has an ageing population, so there will be a much greater demand for mental health services such as those provided by Wiltshire Mind. By 2016, we anticipate the number of people aged 65 or over will be just over a fifth of the county’s population.

“Current services are underfunded and under-resourced, and that knock-on effect of not providing mental health services is potentially catastrophic.”

The charity provides one-on-one counselling from its Melksham headquarters for people with mental health issues, who can book an appointment themselves, or are referred via a GP.

It also runs drop-in sessions on Mondays at Jubilee Buildings, Market Place, Chippenham and Cotswold House, Gloucester Road, Malmesbury, as well as on Tuesdays at The Crown Centre in Devizes.

Duncan Hames MP will be visiting the Chippenham centre on February 18 to launch the charity’s new awareness and support campaign, when it will refocus its structure to provide more counselling.

Mr Mckeigue said: “We plan in the future to expand our You in Mind drop-in centres into new town locations and we want to deploy new mental health services including counselling across the Wiltshire community.

“To do this and to be certain of being able to provide our valuable mental health services, we appeal for donations and funding.”

The charity works closely with other voluntary groups across the county, including Doorway, a drop-in centre for the homeless in Chippenham.

Its chief executive, Lisa Lewis, said: “Our guests use the open access service, and were absolutely devastated when it lost funding. We hope they are able to get up and running again fully.”

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