The Kniveden Project in Leek offers a range of meaningful day activities where people can learn a range of skills, undertake formal and less formal training opportunities, enjoy leisure, recreational and therapeutic activities in a supported and safe community environment. The services are provided by Support, Time & Recovery workers employed by Combined Healthcare. The Project specifically is a vocational, recreational and social horticultural project.

The Project provides the above described service to 58 service users, some of whom remain under the care of mental health services and some who do not and only attend the Kniveden Project. The Trust has details of all service users and their assessed needs for support.

The decommissioning of council Section 75 arrangements between 2018 and 2020 by both main Local Authorities has meant that Combined Healthcare are no longer a primary provider of social care services including such arrangements as the Kniveden Project. Funding for these services has also been withdrawn from the Trust.

The Trust has also been told by the County Council that it would not be able to continue operating the Kniveden Project from the current site in the longer term.

The Trust wrote openly to all service users in August 2020 outlining that each Service User’s Care Coordinator or Key Worker will be working with them on an individual basis to assess their current mental health care needs. The letter confirmed that the Trust would not forego its responsibility of ensuring mental health care to service users and that Trust staff would work with each service user to assess their needs and develop a plan with each service user that met these needs.

Since this time we have been exploring options for how the Trust may work with local voluntary sector organisations, the service users and carers concerned and other local residents, to ensure there is continuing provision for service users in the longer term. We are committed to working with these groups to ensure continued provision of this and / or similar services in the area for those with enduring mental health needs.

Our primary concern in all that we do is to ensure that the people who have hitherto benefited from the Kniveden Project are able to have their needs met and their welfare looked after in the future.

The Trust is meeting with a range of stakeholders over the coming weeks to plan for the future. This includes service user and carer representatives and local voluntary sector partners. In the interim, taking into account the restrictions imposed on us by COVID-19, the Trust will review whether it is possible to re-establish a limited service which complies with social distancing and infection prevention requirements. As ever, the safety and welfare of our service users and staff will be the first priority for the Trust in making this decision.