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Extra mental health support in Crawley schools to be developed

West Sussex has been successful in a bid to develop extra mental health support in schools across two pilot areas.

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New specialist Mental Health Support Teams will work with children in over 20 schools in a joint partnership between West Sussex County Council, West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Following an analysis of need, the one-year pilot will be rolled out in north-west Crawley and in Bognor Regis and Felpham.

The specialist teams will:

• Provide one-to-one support to children with mild to moderate mental health issues, building on the support already available

• Work alongside school counsellors, nurses and designated mental health leads and introduce or develop their whole school or college approach 

• Liaise with external specialist services to help students with more severe needs to get the right support

Richard Burrett, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:

“One in nine young people aged five to 15 are believed to have a mental health condition and we know early intervention is crucial. So I’m delighted that West Sussex school children will benefit from this exciting new pilot and I look forward to seeing it progress.”

Dr Patience Okorie, Clinical Director Crawley CCG, said:

“This is an exciting development and has come at a time when we have seen increasing need for emotional and mental wellbeing support amongst young people. We recognise the need for early intervention and support and had found there was a huge gap for this.

“The new pilot service is a great opportunity to ensure young people get the help they need at the right time and the right place.”

Alison Wallis, Clinical Director for Children and Young People’s Services at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We are so pleased that we were successful in our bid for this new service and that we will be able to improve and build on the early and preventative support that we currently provide for children and young people in West Sussex.

“Young people spend a large proportion of their time at school, so it really does make sense for there to be teams based in schools who are specially trained in how to support young people if they raise concerns about their mental health or emotional wellbeing. 

“I am really looking forward to seeing the positive impact that this pilot service will make.”  

The Mental Health Support Teams will now be developed and should be up and running in West Sussex by September 2020.  

It is part of NHS England’s ambition to roll out the specialist support nationally to reach up to a quarter of the country’s young people by 2022-23.

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Crawley library in danger of losing opening hours as County Council choose money saving over services

Another public consultation and this time it is about reducing opening hours for the library.

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Crawley library users are being asked to share their thoughts on proposed budget savings which would see a reduction in opening hours at Crawley Library.

The consultation running from 9 October to 13 November 2019 is, according to the council, aimed to help inform the decision due to be taken by West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member, Jacquie Russell, in November. 

The suggested savings include for Crawley to:

Reduce the evening opening hours in the library by one hour (from 7pm to 6pm) from April 2020.

This change, along with the same reduction in hours at three other Sussex libraries along with the ceasing of the mobile library service would apparently result in a total year on year saving of £175,000.

Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue and Communities, said:

“Since becoming cabinet member, I have often been asked about what will happen to libraries across the county. As I have said before, we need to look at doing things in a more affordable way, but ultimately my aim is to preserve the core of the library service.

“With the suggested savings being proposed, we hope that the other services we have on offer at libraries across West Sussex will diminish any negative impact to users. 

“However, I still want to hear the thoughts of our library users by way of this consultation, especially those who are specifically affected by the proposed budget savings, as this will help to shape and inform my decision in November.”

But Crawley residents will be all too wary of consultations and how they can be just lip service and completely ignored as recently happened with the consulation over the Post Office move into County Mall.

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“When West Sussex County Council Leader over a decade ago, I was pleased to procure and open the new Crawley Library, which ever since has been an important community resource. I would encourage all who care about our library to engage with the Council’s consultation and call for evening opening hours not to be reduced.”

CN24 approached Jacquie Russell for a guarantee that if the results of the consultation came back that there was a majority against the reduction in hours that she would keep the library open till 7. A response has not yet been received.

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