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Go-ahead for new mental health wellbeing hub in former register office

PUBLISHED: 12:32 30 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:32 30 May 2020

The former Norwich Registration Office at Churchman House in Norwich is to be turned into a mental health clinic.  Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

The former Norwich Registration Office at Churchman House in Norwich is to be turned into a mental health clinic. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

A pioneering new NHS centre, which bosses say could get people rapid support when mental health problems arise, has moved a significant step forward.

Paul Kendrick, Norwich city councillor. Pic: Archant Library.Paul Kendrick, Norwich city councillor. Pic: Archant Library.

Norwich City Council has granted permission to NHS bosses to turn the former Norfolk County Council Registration Office, at Churchman House in the city centre, into a wellbeing hub.

Inspired by similar facilities in Aldershot, Bradford and Lambeth, the new centre could help cut the number of mental health patients being sent outside of the county for care, by providing support at the earliest opportunity.

The idea is that the centre would fulfil a number of roles. For instance, it could be a night-time safe place for people in significant distress, referred by a health or care professional.

It could also house a day time walk-in facility and community café, where people can get help when they feel their anxieties or other mental health problems are escalating.

NHS bosses hope the building could be ready by the end of the year.

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A spokeswoman for the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The project to create a wellbeing hub has two distinct and equally important ‘workstreams’ – getting the right building and getting the right services in place.

“Securing planning permission from Norwich City Council to use Churchman House as a Wellbeing Hub is an important step forward.

“Like so many things at the moment, the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are delaying our plans to develop and fit the building.

“Our current estimate is the building could be ready by the end of the year, although this is subject to the circumstances beyond our control.”

Built in about 1730, the grade one listed building, in Bethel Street, has been empty since the register office moved to The Archive Centre at County Hall in 2016.

The city council, which owns Churchman House, last summer agreed to release £150,000 of funding to NHS Property - obtained through the department of health and social care - to carry out renovation work to the building.

Once the work has been completed, the building will be rented out by the council at £30,000 per year, which cabinet member Paul Kendrick described as a win-win situation.


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