Second Step wins bid for North Somerset crisis and recovery centre

Plans for an innovative mental health crisis and recovery centre in North Somerset took a step forward today with confirmation that Second Step is the preferred bidder for the new service.

The service will be based in Weston-super-Mare and has been commissioned as part of the local Healthy Weston programme to transform services in the Weston and Worle area. It will provide a safe, welcoming and comfortable place for people in acute emotional distress and for those seeking to prevent the onset of a crisis, and will be open 6pm to 12 midnight seven days a week.

Today’s announcement follows a rigorous procurement process in which Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group BNSSG CCG) invited organisations to bid to provide the new service. Following thorough evaluation, Second Step was confirmed as the highest-scoring bidder and the CCG will now carry out final due diligence checks prior to an anticipated contract award in October.

Julia Ross, Chief Executive of NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG said: “The crisis centre is a key part of our Healthy Weston plans to strengthen and enhance health services in Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding area and we were delighted to receive a number of strong bids to provide the new service.

“One in four of us will experience mental health problems at some point in our lives and in Weston, there is a higher than average incidence of mental illness. This new centre will respond to that need, providing a high-quality, responsive service for people experiencing mental health crisis and importantly, providing the care they need in a community setting without the need to go into hospital.”

Aileen Edwards, Second Step’s Chief Executive said:  “We’re delighted to be the preferred bidder to provide this new and important service in North Somerset. We understand the importance of a safe and accessible space for people experiencing acute mental distress and are looking forward to working with our partners to offer much needed support to people in crisis.”

Justine Keeble, Chair of Clarity – North Somerset Independent Mental Health Network, said: “It’s great that we’re progressing to the next stage of implementing the crisis and recovery centre in Weston.

“We’ve been heavily involved in the procurement process, providing input from the perspectives of those with lived experience of mental health crises.

“We are excited to continue to work collaboratively with BNSSG CCG, and now Second Step, sharing our skills and experience to get the service up and running.”

The new service was co-designed with local patient representatives, clinicians and other stakeholders via a series of public engagement workshops and design sessions. These identified a clear requirement for a crisis and recovery centre style model which would allow people to access out-of-hours mental health support alongside elements of social care support, and this is reflected in the design of the new service.

Similar crisis and recovery centre models have been implemented in numerous places in England. It is a nationally recognised model which aims to provide more proactive, person-centred services to support people experiencing emotional distress or a mental health crisis, as an alternative to A&E.

The new centre has not yet been officially named. During the service design phase the CCG collected a list of suggestions from engagement events which were shared with bidders as part of the tender process, asking them to propose a name that reflects people’s feedback.  Second Step will be working with service users to agree the name of the service and this will be announced in the coming months.

The new service is expected to open in April 2020.

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