Pioneering project in Hackney closes

A mental health project which is understood to have introduced the concept of community care to the London Borough of Hackney is to close.

Hackney Council has withdrawn funding from the Downs Road group home, which was set up in 1960 and is run by the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Society.

The seven, mainly older, men and women who live there have been moved to separate projects in the borough even though they want to remain together as a group.

Society trustee John Wilder said Hackney Council had decided to switch its focus to people with more complex needs, but the project was not set up to cater for this.

The problem was compounded when the charity’s landlord -Newlon Housing Trust – decided not to renew its lease.

A Hackney Council spokesperson said: “We worked consistently with the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Society to help it improve its service model for mental health users. But in the end the organisation felt unable to provide that level of service even with the support we offered for training.”

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