SASH celebrates fifty years of supporting people with mental health issues

The Shropshire Association for Supported Housing (SASH) is celebrating its 50th year of supporting people with persistent mental health issues.

Rt Hon Philip Dunn MP, Jean Smith, Board Member, Rowland Waddington, Board Member, Andrew Roberts, Board Member and Paul Forsythe

SASH was founded in 1972 following a presentation by psychiatrist Jimmy Flowerdew to the Rotary Club of Shrewsbury on the operations of Shelton Hospital, the former Shrewsbury Mental Health Hospital serving the county of Shropshire. Jimmy told the club that many of Shelton’s 800 residents had no homes to return to and there were very few accommodation options for those recovering who still needed help.

Ten Rotary Club members each put £100 into a fund and SASH was formed. It was a registered charity and friendly society which was also registered with the housing company as a social landlord and was supported by senior social managers, consultant psychiatrists and senior health officers mental health, all of whom recognized that there was a very strong need for the supply. sheltered accommodation for patients on the move.

A number of properties have been purchased in and around Shrewsbury to provide furnished accommodation and in-house support. Today, SASH welcomes just over 20 people. In accordance with the changes introduced by the Supporting People law, support is no longer provided by an in-house person, but each resident has their own individual care package provided by social services and community mental health teams. Recent times have seen a steady increase in demand and SASH is again building its property portfolio to meet this demand.

Residents are referred by the local authority, who continue to provide social care and support so that residents can complete their rehabilitation and become as independent as possible, possibly moving into their own accommodation.

SASH prides itself on providing good quality non-invasive accommodation and aims to promote independence and respect for personal choice, giving residents the freedom to develop and recover at their own pace.

Each resident has their own fully furnished and comfortable bedroom with private shower room. Living in a SASH property means sharing common areas, such as the garden, living room and kitchen, with other people, who also need help. Its residents find that these community arrangements and socializing with other residents tend to aid their recovery.

SASH is managed by a Board of Directors, each of whom volunteers their time. They bring a range of skills, specialist knowledge and experience to ensure the quality of the business and the service offered is efficient, appropriate and consistent.

David Battisby, Chairman of the Board, said: “We are proud to have provided housing and support to so many people in the local community over the past 50 years and hope to continue to do so for as long as our services will be required. We are very happy to see our residents, who are all vulnerable, doing well and moving towards a more independent life.”

Paul Forsythe, Housing Manager, has worked in social housing for nearly 40 years. He manages the day-to-day running of SASH and is the main liaison with community mental health teams and other relevant services. He said: “It’s hugely satisfying to watch the residents grow and become stronger and more independent. The supported living environment that SASH provides is invaluable for people who have persistent mental health issues. Professionals working in mental health roles are working at full capacity at a time when the services provided are needed more than ever. We are working closely with our colleagues to ensure the best service delivery and to identify changes needed to meet growing demands and expectations.”

The former residents are all singing the praises of SASH very loudly. Jo found SASH after years of domestic violence, abuse and addiction. This led to her living on the streets and having her son taken away. This caused her mental health to deteriorate and she ended up in hospital and eventually in a SASH property on the road to recovery. She said, “Without SASH, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have now learned to take care of myself. I got closer to my son and got to spend time with him and it’s just amazing. I always get help and I take a lot of medication for bipolar, schizophrenia, epilepsy and PTSD. Places like SASH need to stay open. They offer you support to help you transform your life when you need it. They are a lifesaver and I am so thankful for all the help I have received.

If you are 18 or over, recovering or have an ongoing mental health condition and think SASH accommodation may be right for you, or someone you know, SASH can be contacted through their website sash -housing.co.uk.


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