New Berkshire West Breathing Space service to open in Reading providing mental health crisis support

Together for Mental Wellbeing is delighted to announce the opening of a new service at the start of September 2021, which will provide crisis support to people who are experiencing mental distress. Berkshire West Breathing Space will be located in central Reading and will be open from 5.00pm until 11.00pm Fridays to Mondays including Bank Holidays. People who wish to use the service will call or text, arranging to meet in a safe and comfortable space.

Berkshire West Breathing Space has been commissioned by Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and will be run by Together for Mental Wellbeing, incorporating our core principle of service user leadership and valuing lived experience in our approach to support. In delivering the service, Together for Mental Wellbeing will work in Partnership with Berkshire West CCG, Berkshire Health Foundation Trust, NHS111, South Central Ambulance Service, Reading Street Triage Team and all our Voluntary Sector partners. The Berkshire West Breathing Space Team will work alongside our Team of Peer Support Volunteers to provide individual, person centred support and signposting to individuals who are experiencing mental distress across Berkshire West.

Berkshire West Breathing Space will be delivered from Ajilon House on Friar Street in Reading town centre. Ajilon House is owned by Launchpad, a homelessness prevention charity providing vital support and information for individuals, couples and families who don’t have a stable place to live or are at risk of losing their home. Launchpad operates from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Together for Mental Wellbeing are grateful to Launchpad for their support of Berkshire West Breathing Space.

The need for Berkshire West Breathing Space was identified during a review of the Mental Health Crisis Services in the area by Berkshire West CCG. People experiencing mental distress said there was a need for a signposting service with more face to face interaction at times of crisis and that support should be provided in a timely manner. Berkshire West Breathing Space will provide a safe and supportive environment whilst promoting independence, opportunity and recovery. The team and Peer Support Volunteers will work alongside individuals, to identify what they perceive their needs to be; develop safety plans, explore coping strategies and provide support to make choices about how best to meet those individual needs so that they may continue on their journeys to recovery.

On the implementation of the new service, Together Chief Executive, Linda Bryant said:

We’re excited to be implementing this new service in Reading and are pleased to be providing crisis support in the area to compliment the great work our community support team at Berkshire West Your Way already do in the community. This service will provide crucial and responsive support to people experiencing mental distress at times when other services aren’t as readily available and we are proud to be delivering a service that will be an important part of the overall integrated mental health support network available to people in Berkshire West.

Niki Cartwright, Joint Commissioning at Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group commented:

We are delighted that the Breathing Space will be able to provide a safe and supportive environment whilst promoting independence, opportunity and recovery.