A CAMPAIGNER who fought to keep Burton’s Margaret Stanhope Centre from closing has spoken out about plans that could see it reopen.
Matt Long, who was one of the leading lights in the bid to preserve inpatient mental health provision in the town, said he approached news that health chiefs could reopen the site – while other facilities in the county are refurbished – with ‘cautious optimism’.
He spoke out after South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust chiefs floated the idea that the centre could see its doors unlocked once again.
Dr Long told the Mail: “I was surprised to learn of this development, but any kind of improvement to mental health provision in the town, even if temporary, would be welcomed and help ease pressures in Burton.
“What I think is widely acknowledged is that what we have at the moment is not good enough, and health chiefs need to realise this before it is too late.
“This is one of the reasons I am working with people such as Burton MP Andrew Griffiths in a bid to come up with some kind of model for a safe space in Burton.
“The return of the Stanhope or some kind of new provision in the town would also reduce the immense pressure felt by care in the community operations such as Changes.
“They do a great job but need someone to help ease the burden.
“The reaction to this news and all the other Margaret Stanhope Centre stories shows the feeling of people and proves that our campaign will never stop.
“The road to justice is a long one, but all of us are in this fight until the end.
“If the Stanhope was to reopen, I think we should grasp the opportunity, show its importance and never let them take it away from us again.”
The doors slammed shut at the 17-year-old centre in September last year, despite the efforts of campaigners.