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Landmark mental health learning facility opens in Prestwich


Local mental health trust, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW) is celebrating the official opening of a £5million education and training facility which will provide free educational courses for people with mental health and/or substance misuse problems, their families, carers and friends and professionals.

The new building demonstrates the GMW’s commitment to recovery-focused care and provides a physical base for the Trust’s Recovery Academy. Launched in 2013, the Academy supports people and those who care for them through their recovery journey and promotes good health and wellbeing.

Since its creation in 2013, the Academy has grown to offer almost 50 different courses to over 2200 students who have registered to study with GMW. All courses are co-written and delivered by people with mental health and/or substance misuse problems and professionals in order to promote the philosophy of shared learning.

The new building, called ‘The Curve’ was designed with architects and had continuous involvement form service users across GMW. Service users of the Trust worked alongside nationally renowned artist and President of the Manchester Academy of Fine Art, Gerry Halpin MBE to create contemporary art pieces which are displayed throughout the facility.

Gerry Halpin MBE commented, “The Curve’ is a splendid building both in its architectural style and function which employs exciting design features incorporating colour, light and space to great effect. To be invited to submit ideas for art works which would add to an already aesthetically stylish project and taking account of the essential nature of the purpose of the building was a tremendous honour.

“One of the aspects of this commission which I found particularly rewarding was having the opportunity to work with a number of highly enthusiastic members of staff and service users. I hope that they have also enjoyed the process of making art and that they will take much satisfaction in seeing the results of this co-operation and in it being appreciated by everyone who uses ‘The Curve’.

Gill Green, Director of Nursing and Operations said, “The success of the Recovery Academy in two short years has been phenomenal and we wanted to show the world what 21st century mental health services could look like and this sleek and modern building offers a warm and welcoming experience for the people who use it.

“The courses we offer at this brand new facility, provide service users, families and carers, free access to the learning opportunities they need to be able to develop their skills and understanding surrounding mental health. The Recovery Academy experience enables people to identify their goals and ambitions whilst increasing their confidence and supporting them in whatever it is they want to achieve.”

The new building also offers state-of-the-art conference facilities with the latest audio-visual technology, breakout rooms and on-site catering to ensure a successful conference experience for outside organisations who hire the facility. Any profit made by booking The Curve goes directly into supporting a local mental health NHS trust, which fits in with many organisation’s social responsibility culture.

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Brian Everall

Editor at large, SalfordOnline.com