AN historic Burton building could be brought back into use as a facility to help people suffering with mental health problems.
The town’s museum and art gallery, on the corner of Station Street and Guild Street, will become a yoga and wellbeing centre, with space for sports, a cafe and recording studios, if all goes well with the plans.
It is the brainchild of yoga teacher Anna Morrone, who was moved to provide a facility for people with mental health problems following her own battle with anxiety and depression.
She said: “With the closure of the Margaret Stanhope Centre there is a mental health crisis in Burton.
“One in four people in Burton suffer with mental health problems, and that’s 16,000 people who have to find somewhere else to go.
“When I needed support, there wasn’t anywhere to go, and that way my motivation behind setting up this project.”
Ms Morrone said the idea came from a facility she used to teach at when she lived in San Diego, in America, before moving to Burton 10 years ago.
People would take part in yoga before using the creative space to produce their own material.
Ms Morrone added: “Yoga can be used on many levels. It can be used to reduce stress, make you more creative and more energised. It can lead you to operate at 100 per cent of your potential.”
There will also be space for one-to-one sessions, and sessions for people tackling addiction issues.
Dr Matt Long, former leader of the Friends of Margaret Stanhope Forum, said he supported the idea completely.
“The hard work is in preventing people getting to the stage of acute illness. If we can support this to stop people getting to the stage where they need help, we should do all we can,” he added.
The Margaret Stanhope Centre closed in 2012 amid a storm of protest from service-users and the wider community.
The social enterprise will nod back to the building’s past, with a photography exhibition, and a room dedicated to Burton’s first police constable Richard Roe, who was based in the building when it was a police station.
It closed as a museum in the 1970s, and the items were distributed.
Ms Morrone said that as well as providing a wellbeing service, she wants to provide a link to the heritage of the museum.
The project is not yet off the ground, but a grant application has been put in to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Ms Morrone is in the process of organising monthly fund-raising events to renovate the dilapidated building.
No timescale has yet been applied to the work, but, if all goes well, it could be up and running within a year, the Mail was told.