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New Norfolk and Waveney Mind mental health recovery house will open this week in Barroway Drove, near Downham Market

Locals were given a sneak peek of a new short-stay recovery house which will offer support to people with mental health issues when it opens this week.

West Norfolk councillors and residents have had a look around Norfolk and Waveney Mind’s new venue, where people struggling will receive support to focus on their recovery and wellbeing.

The county’s leading mental health charity will this week open Birch Tree House, its new short-stay recovery house in the village of Barroway Drove.

Norfolk and Waveney Mind's new Birch Tree House opening in Barroway Drove
Norfolk and Waveney Mind's new Birch Tree House opening in Barroway Drove

A maximum of four people at a time will stay for up to five nights at the house, where they will be helped by trained staff in a comfortable, non-clinical setting.

Cllr Terry Parish, leader of West Norfolk Council, was among the guests who visited the new facility on Wednesday to meet staff and learn about the service they will be operating.

He said: “This short-stay recovery house will provide a peaceful and well-resourced space for people needing mental health support.

“Both I and other councillors were very impressed by the facility that Norfolk and Waveney Mind have created and have no doubt that it will help many people across West Norfolk.”

The borough council’s planning committee approved an application for the facility in December.

The house’s opening coincides with another short-stay recovery house opening at Burgh Castle in East Norfolk, and the two follow a successful pilot scheme in Costessey.

This means that all areas of Norfolk and Waveney will now benefit from a short stay recovery house.

Since it opened three years ago, Holly Tree House in Norwich has helped people with their recovery while also reducing the burden on GP surgeries and A&E departments.

This has reportedly saved the NHS more than £1.1million that would have otherwise been spent on mental health beds.

Louise Jordan-Hall, chair of the Norfolk and Waveney Mind’s board of trustees, said: “We are extremely pleased to complete this high-quality development of three short-stay recovery houses.

“They particularly complement our existing network of REST Hubs and the late-night sanctuaries; by working with colleagues in the police, ambulance, A&E, and crisis mental health teams, the houses provide a non-clinical alternative to hospital admissions.”

Pete Boczko, chief executive of Norfolk and Waveney Mind, added: “We are delighted to have been able to show West Norfolk councillors and Barroway Drove residents our new short stay recovery house.

“It will make such a difference to people in the area with poor mental health, as well as massively easing the burden on the NHS.”

Sonja Chilvers, the charity’s chief operations officer, said: “People who have stayed at Holly Tree House in Norwich have said it saved their lives and helped them find a new way forward.

“Our country is experiencing a mental health crisis and the kind of intervention we can offer at our recovery houses is a vital part of the solution.

“We look forward to welcoming our first guests soon and giving people in difficulty across West Norfolk the help that they desperately need.”

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