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Invictus donate £50,000 !

Today we are delighted to donate £50,000 to the new mental health unit in Bodmin.

This money, raised by amazing Invictus supporters will be ring-fenced and spent on equipping the cafe to ensure it is the sort of place Ben would have had an espresso, and, buying a minibus. Steve presented the £50,000 “anchor” to Barbara Vann, Chair of the Cornwall Foundation Trust, today at the annual members meeting.

The full press release is as follows:

A donation for £50,000 was presented today, Thursday 27 September, by the Invictus Trust towards the Sowenna Appeal; a campaign by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) Charitable Fund.

The appeal is seeking funding for £1.2 million to transform Sowenna, a new child and adolescent mental health (CAHMS) unit, into the best mental health facility for young people in the southwest.

From May 2019, for the first time young people will be able to have access to the full range of mental health services – from community to psychiatric hospital care – in Cornwall. The new 14 bed CAMHS unit will be run by CFT and will accommodate boys and girls up to the age of 18. It is hoped that being able to treat young people closer to home, near family and friends where they can maintain their relationships and friendships will make a huge difference to their recovery.

Ahead of the NHS Five Year Forward View, the Sowenna unit delivers on NHS England’s commitment to reduce out of area placements for children and young people by increasing bed numbers nationally by 10%.

The donation was presented to CFT Chair, Barbara Vann by Steve Cowburn from the Invictus Trust, a charity which aims to support and offer services to local teenagers who are suffering from poor mental health and associated issues at CFT’s Annual Members’ Meeting in Bodmin.

Mr Cowburn said “The initial donation by the Invictus Trust will be used to furnish the Invictus Café within the unit and to allow visits with family and friends to happen in a friendly space – the sort of space our son Ben would have enjoyed an espresso. We will also fund a minibus to take young people out of Sowenna to access the local community.

We have had consultations with young people who had been patients in a number of units around the country. They said very clearly that a café where parents and friends could have good coffee was very important. Also trips out of the unit in a minibus would be a great stepping stone back to integrating more fully with their local community.”

“The contribution will also help to pay towards parental accommodation to allow families to stay over and support their loved ones following admission. We are delighted with all these ways in which the hard-earned money from Invictus supporters can help make the unit the best it can be and a flagship for Cornwall, however, we remain committed to improving and extending the provision in Cornwall to cover all adolescents up to the age of 25 added Mr Cowburn.”

Dr Barbara Vann, Chair at Cornwall Foundation Trust said, “For the children and young people of Cornwall this development is a milestone. CFT has long hoped that this unit could be built and we are delighted to be working with Invictus to achieve the very best provision for our children and young people. Thanks go to all of the people of Cornwall who have contributed to the Invictus fund raising and to our Health partners who are helping us to realise our vision.”

It is reported that one in 10 children aged five to 16 have a diagnosable mental health condition.* Most young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties are treated and supported within the community, however sometimes for those with severe mental health problems, often with accompanying high risk, require specialist inpatient care. Historically, these have only been available in units which are a considerable distance from homes, visits and support from family and friends, which play a key element in people’s recovery, especially in the case of children.

The Sowenna unit will be divided into five elements: the entrance area; small living clusters with bedrooms; shared living areas; education block and offices. Service users will benefit from a dedicated education, therapy and recreation space, sports facilities and a number of courtyards within the unit to allow for light access to outside space and fresh air. In order to maintain vital community and familial links, the unit will include a public facing café and parental accommodation, and be built on land adjacent to Bodmin Hospital where it will benefit from close links to the CFT’s other specialist mental and physical health services.

Throughout the planning and build process, CFT have sought valuable insight from Young People Cornwall, whereby many of whom have had stays in inpatient mental health facilities. The group have been actively involved in the project for a new unit, even officially naming it ‘Sowenna’, Cornish for welfare and success. Milda, 18, from Young People Cornwall added “Sowenna means security. It prevents a young person from possible months of isolation, to being in a community they know”.


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