Protests to keep Preston SAFE
November 2, 2010 by Gareth
Printing companies in Preston helped protestors demonstrate their support to save a mental health unit from closing down after the group distributed printed leaflets to raise awareness of their cause. They also used banners to draw attention to the campaign.
The Avondale Unit is based at the Royal Preston Hospital, but NHS bosses from the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust have taken the decision to close the unit by the end of 2010. The implications for people in the area means extended travel for mental health treatment as they will be referred to other units in Blackpool or Chorley.
Protestors held a rally on Preston’s Flag Market and the group, SAFE – Save Avondale For Everyone, attracted thousands of signatures for their petition against the closure. The group hopes to keep the issue at the forefront of peoples’ minds and ensure that the Avondale Unit is kept open until there are appropriate alternative facilities in the area fit for treating people in the city.
It is felt that at a difficult time of redundancies and cutbacks, more people may be suffering from depression or other mental health issues and that the unit provides a vital service to the city. NHS bosses have argued that the current Avondale Unit is no longer fit for use and that there needs to be more modern facilities in Lancashire. They have also stated that inpatient beds are no longer required in such numbers following moves to treat patients in the community itself.