NHS to launch ‘trailblazing’ mental health service in Leighton Buzzard to address lack of provision

The Lighthouse
The Lighthouse

A trailblazing new ‘safe space’ for anyone with mental health concerns is being launched by the NHS in Leighton Linslade.

The Lighthouse, a service inspired by carers and service users and led by trained volunteers, will launch on a three-month trial from Whichello’s Wharf in The Elms, Stoke Road, on Tuesday, April 23.

The group chose the name as lighthouses symbolise the way forward and help in navigating our way through rough waters whether the waters be financial, personal, business or spiritual in nature.

The service will run every Tuesday and Friday from 5.30pm to 8.30pm and will be free and open to anyone who wants to attend.

The team of trained volunteers and qualified health professionals will provide support, advice and - if needed - signposting to a range of services in Bedfordshire.

The team can help everyone from those feeling lonely or isolated, people with worries about practical issues like applying for benefits, those who want support as part of their recovery, or anyone who feels they are close to or experiencing a mental health crisis. The service will be reviewed at the end of three months to understand what people have been using the service for, so it can be further focused and developed.

It has being provided by East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), which provides community and mental health services in Bedfordshire.

“This is a tremendously exciting project,” said the Jane Kelly, the Trust’s Clinical Lead for Recovery.

“The project started when carers and service users in Leighton Buzzard highlighted a lack of provision in the area – and provided some fantastic ideas on how to fill the gap.”

She added: “This is the first time a service has been designed from scratch from a starting point of carers and service users approaching us and saying ‘this is what we think is needed, can you help us make it a reality?’

“They have been involved from the get-go and are the real inspiration behind this.”

The project has also been supported by Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire.