Council reviewing options on future of former handicapped centre in Honiton

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:05 20 March 2018

The Haven in Honiton. Image: Google Maps

The Haven in Honiton. Image: Google Maps

Archant

A former mental health resource centre in Honiton could be transferred to a not-for-profit organisation or put up for sale, the Herald can reveal.

The Haven, which was run by charity Mind until last summer, has been lying disused in High Street for many months – prompting questions about its future.

Devon County Council (DCC), which leased the building to Mind, regained possession of it after the authority announced a raft of changes to mental health services, in conjunction with Devon Partnership NHS Trust.

Now, DCC has outlined its plans for building, and revealed it has been in contact with interested parties.

A spokesman said: “We intend to dispose of the building and while we have had some interest in it, we are now considering our options.

“These include a transfer to a not for profit organisation and/or another public body, or an open market sale.”

The Haven is part of the old Honiton Pottery building at the top end of the High Street.

Honiton’s mayor, Cllr John Zarczynski, said he would prefer the building be handed over to a not-for-profit organisation or community interest company.

He said: “We can not afford to keep losing these vital services.

“We have already seen cutbacks in support for our most vulnerable, and we are at a critical point.

“We need to hang on to what we have got and if anything, expand on it.”

Last year, Honiton resident Garry Wakeham voiced his concerns about losing the walk-in service, which had supported him for six years.

He praised the centre’s ‘exceptional’ staff that helped him during a mental breakdown following the sudden death of his son Steven, 32, in 2016.

Mr Wakeham has since launched the Open Arms service, which gives people suffering from mental health problems a safe place to interact and partake in group activities.

He said: “Everything has been going really well – we have had lots of backing from Honiton Town Council and grant funding from the Dragon’s Den event held in town.”

Open Arms East Devon, which has applied for charity status, operates from Dunning Court in Honiton every Tuesday and Friday from 10.30am to 4pm.

To donate, or get involved with the group, call Mr Wakeham on 07716 519608, or email openarmseastdevon@gmail.com


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