Peer support worker at Haven offers one-to-one support.The first birthday of Haven, a day-time adult mental health service, at the Cellar Trust has been marked by a breakfast celebration at the centre.  Hundreds of people have benefitted from the service, accessed through the Trust’s First Response service, since Haven opened its doors, a year ago, to vulnerable people needing urgent mental health crisis support.

Haven is one of three homely and welcoming safer spaces that are available in the district for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

Amongst those in attendance at the birthday celebration was Emily, a peer support worker, with lived experience of mental health crisis.  Emily suffered severe mental health problems as a teenage that continued as a young adult; now Emily, is helping to support vulnerable people that have suffered emotionally or experienced a mental health crisis through her role at the centre.  Emily credits working at Haven, which is based at Shipley, as contributing significantly to her own mental health recovery, she has increased in confidence, feels capable, valued and respected.

Haven’s comments book lists a series of positive feedback from those that have been seen by Emily.

One said: “For the first time in years I just talked.  I really warmed to Emily who saw me, which made it really easy and a nice environment too; I felt safe and not judged.”

A second wrote: “Was really helpful talking to a professional who actually knows and understands how it feels, for the first time I felt totally understood.”

The feedback is typical of the comments left from people that have benefited from seeing peer support workers like Emily, and volunteers, and trained professionals who have been ensuring people in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, get the right care, in the right place, with the right health or social care professional, close to home.

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust; The Cellar Trust, a local mental health charity, and Bradford Metropolitan District Council have worked in partnership to open the project as a safe, specialised and supportive homely place in the local community for those in mental distress to visit as an alternative to the A&E department.  This partnership working reflects the five year forward view, which highlights the importance of services being embedded in the local community and voluntary sector, with greater focus on peer support.  Bradford has been cited as an example of best practice for its work in this area.

Providing high quality care, Haven builds on the success of the Care Trust’s First Response service, which offers mental health crisis support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This has resulted in people being cared for closer to home, with no out of area placements in the last two years. This has reduced pressure on other services like A&E – reducing unnecessary admissions where more appropriate support is available.

Haven is available from 10am – 6pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be accessed through the Trust’s First Response Service, 01274 221181.  People in the local area, when they reach out to services for help and support, receive the right help, with kind and compassionate staff, in a non-clinical environment, at the times when they need them most.

With almost 2,000 support sessions delivered over the year, Haven offers one-to-one, group and telephone support. The service is designed for people to access the support they need, develop their plans to stay well and cope better with distress in the future – and plays a vital role in identifying crisis triggers early and preventing a crisis from escalating.

Haven runs alongside the First Response service; safer space, a homely and welcoming overnight place for vulnerable children and young people, aged under 18, to visit in emotional distress or crisis from 10pm-10am, run in partnership with Creative Support; The Sanctuary, a night-time mental health service, which is open from 6pm-11pm, based at Mind in Bradford, all can be accessed through the Trust’s First Response 24-hour service.

Simon Long, Interim Deputy Director of Mental Health Acute and Community Services at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust said:  “The reaction to Haven has been really positive and people accessing the service have credited it with helping to give them the coping skills needed to manage crisis more confidently in the future. We would like to thank everyone involved for their continued commitment to the service – and ensuring people in crisis get the help they need. Partnership working has been key to the success of caring for people locally with acute mental health needs.”

Kim Shutler-Jones, Chief Executive, The Cellar Trust said: “We feel very lucky to be able to offer a service like Haven – which recognises that when you are feeling mentally distressed – a clinical approach isn’t always what you need. Being able to create a calm, safe space for people where people feel really understood and listened to has been brilliant and we have been blown away by the feedback we’ve received. Key to the success has been our close partnership with Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford Metropolitan District Council which has enabled true integrated working.”

People in crisis can access Haven via the Care Trust’s First Response Service, Telephone 01274 221181. Find out more about Haven. 

Nick Smith, a Governor at the Care Trust, who has lived experience of mental health crisis, is featured in a new safer spaces video, Nick shares his views on Haven and how the service is helping people keep their mental health on track. Visit to find out more…