The Future of Greenwich Mind
We are aware that there is a lot of uncertainty and confusion about the future of the charity.
Greenwich Mind is facing significant financial difficulties at the moment. For over forty years the charity has supported people with mental health problems in the local community, with around 3,500 people accessing its services every year. Recent years have been very difficult as we have seen demand rising in the absence of a relative increase in funding. Greenwich Mind has been trying to offer some services to a level in excess of the funding available, using money it had in reserve to cover the shortfall.
Greenwich Mind is not facing imminent closure but it appears likely at this stage that services will be restructured, which is likely to result in some reducing in size or even closing and some staff being made redundant as a result. Greenwich Mind and its partners are doing everything they can to minimize the impact on service users, staff and volunteers and keep as many services running as possible. The current focus is on developing a plan which enables as many of the current services as possible to be secured and put on a sustainable footing for the future.
There have been concerns raised that Greenwich Mind should have taken action sooner to address the problems the charity has been facing. An external consultant has been brought in to look at the charity’s accounts and the Greenwich Mind management team is conducting a thorough review of all its services.
Ross Milne has resigned as Chief Executive, after seven years of service to Greenwich Mind. Ben Taylor, Chief Executive of Bromley and Lewisham Mind, has agreed to step in and act as interim Chief Executive for Greenwich Mind during this difficult period and will oversee the process of reviewing and restructuring services.
Greenwich Mind is grateful to its funders, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Greenwich CCG, for their continued support. They are working together with support from the national Mind charity to find a way to continue running as many services as possible for people in Greenwich.
This is a tough and unsettling time for service users, staff and volunteers. If service users have any questions or concerns they should contact staff at Greenwich Mind.
What is Greenwich Mind?
Greenwich Mind was founded over 40 years ago. We support people in our community who are living with mental health problems, offering services to over 3,500 people locally every year including counselling, advocacy and social activities. Our mission is to ensure that people with mental health problems can access a full range of support and services in the community to enable them to live independent lives and maintain their general mental health and wellbeing.
Is it closing? What’s going on?
Greenwich Mind is not facing imminent closure but we are experiencing serious financial difficulties that are likely to lead to a significant restructure of our services. Some of our services may need to close in future, and we may need to make some staff redundant. We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on our staff and the people who currently use our services by looking at how we might restructure services without having to close them altogether. We are also looking into how we might work with other local charities and services to provide support to people who need it.
How did this happen?
Greenwich Mind’s income has varied in recent years. We have sought to try and offer the same level of service regardless of any change in financial circumstances, which has meant spending some of the money we had built up in reserve.
But in the last few years we have maintained levels of much –needed service provision beyond that for which we are funded and now face serious financial difficulties. As awareness of mental health problems has risen, more people have come forward to seek help and demand for our services has increased. We have very sadly reached a point where it is no longer sustainable for us to carry on providing all of our current services in the way that we do, on the income we have.
Where does Greenwich Mind get its funding from?
Much of our funding comes from the local authority and local NHS and they continue to provide funding for our work.
What’s being done to fix it?
We are grateful to our colleagues at national Mind and to the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group for supporting us through this difficult time.
We will be doing a complete review of all of our services and do everything we can to keep as many services as possible running. The funding for our counselling services is subject to a major service review in the Borough. Our current contract is due to finish at the end of March 2018, and we hope to work with commissioners and service users to ensure there is a counselling service that meets local needs in place beyond this point.
Our absolute priority is to ensure that support for our clients will continue. People with mental health problems cannot be left without the kind of support that Greenwich Mind has been offering over the years.
We are planning to undertake a series of fundraising initiatives. We hope that, with awareness of mental health issues at an all-time high, people will generously support us to continue to offer as many of our present services as is possible. Details of fundraising events will be announced shortly.
We want to be able to deliver high quality, much-needed mental health services to the local community, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re appealing to the generosity of our supporters and donors. If you are able to help support us, any donations – however small – are welcome. Please visit https://localgiving.org/charity/greenwich-mind/ to find out more.
Will services be affected?
We are reviewing all of our services and want to continue to run as many of them as we can but we do expect that we will have to reduce services, or deliver them differently. It is possible some will have to be cut altogether.
Will staff be affected?
As we reduce our services or deliver them differently, a number of staff posts will be at risk of redundancy, as we cannot continue at current staffing levels due to the costs involved.
I hear staff have already taken a pay cut – is that true?
The staff team came to a voluntary agreement to accept a 20% pay cut for a period in the last financial year. Some staff still give their time voluntarily or are working reduced hours and while this is not sustainable the management recognize the professionalism and generosity of all the staff in supporting the retention of services at Greenwich Mind.
Is Greenwich Mind merging with another local Mind?
We are open to the idea of merging with another organisation with which we share common values. We are in discussion about the possibility of merging with other organisations, including a neighbouring local Mind. We would hope that a merger would help to protect further reductions in services and staffing.
Will we service users and the public be consulted/ have a chance to engage
Yes staff and service users will be invited to contribute to the service review.
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Greenwich Mind is a charity and we rely on donations to continue our work. please visit our donations page or call 0208 853 2395 to find out how you can support us.
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