Terminally ill woman pleads: ‘Extraordinary Highgate mental health centre should not face cuts’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:57 29 December 2014

Brenda Williams. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg.

Brenda Williams. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg.

Jonathan Goldberg 07958 229 037

A terminally ill woman who relies on a day centre for mental health support has pleaded with Camden Council to save it from planned cuts.

Brenda Williams, who regularly attends the Highgate Centre, in Highgate Road, made a deputation to the council’s cabinet on Wednesday last week asking members to shield the centre from a £170,000 reduction in funding for mental health services across the borough.

The cut is part of a £73million package of cuts over the next three years signed off by the cabinet last week.

Ms Williams, who has cancer, said: “The Highgate Centre is an extraordinary service and it is a key safety net for many people.

“Indeed without its preventative care many more patients would end up being admitted into wards, recovery centres, crisis houses and stand-alone facilities.

“Surely patients with this level of need deserve and could expect that their care is properly protected rather than imperilled?”

Ms Williams said the planned £170,000 cut equates to half the centre’s annual budget and insisted any reduction in funding would cripple the service.

She described the staff as “beleaguered” and pointed to two serious incidents this year, including one staff member being threatened with a knife.

Cllr Pat Callaghan, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “The £170,000 highlighted in the cabinet report is part of the wider set of proposals that span across a wide range of day opportunity services.

“The deputation suggests that the entire £170,000 will be made from the Highgate Centre and this is not the case. No decisions have been made in regard to the Highgate Centre.”

The Highgate Centre is due to move into a new community resource centre at Greenwood Place, in Kentish Town, next year.

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