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Mental health charities awarded contract to support Birmingham people with their recovery and into employment

Three of the region’s leading mental health charities have come together in a unique partnership which is set to support thousands of local people with their recovery and a move into meaningful employment; Better Pathways, Birmingham Mind and Creative Support will work together to deliver the three-year NHS contract.

The newly-designed mental health recovery and employment services contract was awarded to the charities by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Birmingham, following a public consultation and procurement process last year. Starting in April 2018, these specialist services will be available to more than 2,500 local people with serious mental illness.

Lead provider, Better Pathways, has been providing employment and training services to people with mental ill-health in the West Midlands for more than 50 years.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this new contract on behalf of the Birmingham Joint Commissioning Team,” said Liz Armstrong, Better Pathways Chief Executive.

“This contract gives us an exciting platform to integrate the services offered by Better Pathways, Birmingham Mind and Creative Support, leveraging the expertise of three charities with a proven track record of supporting those with the most complex needs in our communities.

“We look forward to working closely together with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Forward Thinking Birmingham in supporting people on their journey of recovery.”

The new contract will see mental health recovery and employment services integrated and delivered under one banner, providing a seamless service for users.

Birmingham Mind and Creative Support will deliver the recovery elements of the programme, with Better Pathways delivering employment services through the individual placement and support model.

This new service will strongly recognise that recovery from a mental health issue is different for everyone. Some individuals will be keen to get into employment, whilst others will benefit from socialising with peers, developing new interests and taking a roll in actually running the centres; one size does not fit all when it comes to recovery.

Local GP and NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG’s lead for mental health, Dr Aqil Chaudary, added: “The specialist support provided by this service will offer a range of practical assistance to individuals with serious mental illness and will be invaluable in helping local people, who have struggled with mental ill health, back into employment.”