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Combat Stress confirms it will drop residential treatment from its Newport care centre

By Mat Growcott | Newport | News | Published:

Veterans' mental health charity Combat Stress has confirmed that it will be dropping residential treatment from its services at its Shropshire centre.

Veterans marched against changes at Combat Stress last month

CEO Sue Freeth said that although the intensive programme at Audley Court in Newport had helped transform lives, that it was important for the charity to use its resources more effectively.

It comes after more than 1,000 people fought to convince the charity to retain services in the county through the Save Audley Court Facebook group.

Ms Freeth said: “In the last 10 years Combat Stress has seen a 143 per cent increase in referrals for our specialist clinical treatment.

This has made it more challenging to provide timely treatment to those former servicemen and women who need our help.

“Our residential Intensive Treatment Programme has been successful in transforming the lives of veterans but going forward, our clinical view is that residential treatment is not the only answer if we want to achieve more.

“We recently consulted with our employees and veterans on proposals that would enable us to use our resources more effectively to support veterans more quickly and more flexibly, while raising the money needed to fund our work.

“Having taken their feedback into consideration, I can confirm we will no longer be delivering residential treatment at our Audley Court centre in Shropshire. We will design and deliver a number of non-residential programmes in the Central region that work around veterans’ existing commitments, such as work or family life. We will continue to provide residential programmes in our treatment centres based in Ayrshire and Surrey."

Ms Freeth said they would continue to work with veterans on their proposals to fund some services themselves.

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“We met with representatives from our Veteran Engagement Group and the Save Audley Court Facebook Group," Ms Freeth said.

"The veterans put forward a proposal to retain a block of accommodation at Audley Court for use by those attending the centre for an outpatient appointment or in need of support. We have agreed to explore the feasibility of this proposal and the potential impact this could have with our clinical registration with the Care Quality Commission by early 2018.

“We are not able to confirm the number of employees being made redundant until December 2017 due to the next stage of the internal recruitment process.”

Veterans marched through Newport last month in protest of plans to get rid of residential treatment at Audley Court.

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They will march again and hold a peaceful protest at the site on December 1. They will also be raising money towards their plans to retain a ward.

Pete Neale, who started the Facebook group, said: "For this to happen we have got to start raising money fast to show that as a group we can keep it going without funding from anyone else.

"I know it’s not what we wanted but it’s still a safe place we can go for a few days rest and be with other veterans."

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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