More demand for housing for those with mental health needs says charity set up half a century ago

A charity that provides accommodation for people with mental health issues is marking its 50th year and says recent times have seen a steady increase in demand for supported housing.

The old Shelton Hospital
The old Shelton Hospital

Shropshire Association for Supported Housing (SASH) currently has accommodation for more than 20 people in Shrewsbury, Craven Arms and Bridgnorth and says it is building its property portfolio to help more people.

It was founded in 1972 following a presentationby psychiatrist Jimmy Flowerdew the Rotary Club of Shrewsbury on Shelton Hospital, the old mental health hospital for Shropshire. He said many of the then 800 Shelton residents had no home to return to, and there were very limited options for accommodation for those in recovery still needing support.

Ten Rotary Club members funded the formation of the charity and a number of properties were purchased.

Today each resident has their own bedroom and shower room, sharing communal areas, such as garden, living room and kitchen. each resident has their own individual care package provided by social services and the community mental health teams.

SASH is managed by a Board of Directors, each of whom offers their time voluntarily. They bring a range of skills, expert knowledge and experience to ensure the quality of the business and the service being offered is efficient, appropriate and consistent.

David Battisby, Chair of the Board, said: “We are proud to have provided housing and support to so many from the local community over the last 50 years and hope to go on doing so for as long as our services are needed. It gives us great pleasure to see our residents, who are all vulnerable, doing well and progressing towards more independent living”.

Paul Forsythe, who manages the day-to-day running of SASH and is the key liaison with the Community Mental Health teams and other relevant services said: “It is immensely satisfying when you see residents develop and become stronger and more independent.

"The supported living environment that SASH offers is invaluable for individuals who have enduring mental health issues. Professionals working in mental health roles are working at capacity at a time when the services provided are needed more than ever. "

One former residents found SASH after years of domestic violence, abuse, and drug addiction which resulted in her ending up living on the streets and having her son taken away from her.

This led to a breakdown in her mental health and she found herself in hospital and eventually in a SASH property on the road to recovery.

“Without SASH I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve now learnt to take care of myself. I’ve moved closer to my son and been able to spend time with him and that’s just been amazing. I’m still getting support and I’m on medication. Places like SASH give you support to help you turn your life around when you need it. They are a lifeline."

If you are aged 18 or over, are recovering from or have an enduring mental health issue and feel SASH accommodation may suit you, or someone you know, SASH can be contacted via its website: sash-housing.co.uk.

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