Wednesday 6 February saw the inaugural session of Ludlow Young Health, a wellbeing and mental health advice drop-in service. Nearly 50 young people and their parents or carers dropped in to the Ludlow Youth Centre in the first few hours of the service. It will now run every second Wednesday from 3.30pm to 7pm at Ludlow Youth Centre. The next drop-in will be 20 February.
Shropshire Council has cut £48 million from its budget over the last three years under pressure of government cuts. It will need to cut, or in its words “save”, £18.5m next year.
The list of cuts is appalling. Public health services will get a big hit. Giving up smoking, reducing obesity and promotion of healthy lifestyles will be hammered. People from Wales will be snubbed. There will be cuts to social support, including cuts to day centres, though there is doubt whether all the cuts can be achieved.
Mental health services are being cut back. It can take weeks, even months, for a young person to get a mental health referral. Often, they must go to Shrewsbury for a consultation. Many youngsters can’t or won’t do that.
Ludlow Youth Partnership wants to tackle this. We have partnered with the Children’s Society which runs the Beam emotional wellbeing service in Shrewsbury and Wellington. Our new drop in service launches in February. It is supported by a lot of organisations and is the first independent commissioning of the Children’s Society to provide emotional wellbeing services for young people in Shropshire.
Last night, Councillor Tracey Huffer announced an important project to help young people with mental health and wellbeing issues in the Ludlow area. For some time, we have been saying that if no one else will help our town, we must help ourselves.
Ludlow Young Health is a project run by Ludlow Youth Partnership with the Children’s Society. Its initial aims are to provide informal drop-in advice sessions for young people (aged 0-25). We are the first market town in Shropshire to fund our own project with the Children’s Society. We are on a steep learning curve. But we have hopes that we can expand the project in the future. We are thinking big.
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust is in special measures because patient safety is being compromised. Telford A&E will close overnight for safety reasons. Rural maternity units, including Ludlow, are closed for live births. For safety reasons. Shropshire Council is axing £4 million from its public health budge despite the opposition of the director of public health. The council’s cabinet member for adult social care and public health is predicting “Armageddon” in public health services.
Soon, the medics will be saying its not safe to live in Shropshire. It is beginning to feel that way.