Around Ealing February 2018 | Page 20

MENTAL HEALTH ‘A second home and safety net’ “Solace is not just about having a laugh and a cup of tea; it is much more than that,” insisted a user of the recently reopened mental health resource centre. F or 23 years, The Solace Centre in West Ealing has been a place where people with mental illness can meet in a relaxed environment, build confidence, join in activities and make new friends. It plays an integral role in helping people to cope with mental health crises or combat loneliness and depression. The centre’s staff also helps its 87 members and many other visitors to resolve various day-to-day problems. It is an ‘out-of- hours’ service that runs all year round, opening weekday evenings and all afternoon at weekends for members. 20 around ealing    February 2018   Dympna Bolger Senior recovery worker Catherine Bingham said: “A great majority of our service users come from the community, where loneliness and day-to-day life can become unbearable. Others are referred by their GPs, the hospital or via supported housing. Solace is a welcoming and safe environment.” THE BIG REOPENING Since April 2016, the council has leased the Solace Centre, in Bowmans Close, to Equinoxcare, part of the Social Interest Group charity. Solace officially reopened on World Mental Health Day in new premises, the lay-out of which was partially shaped by service users’ views. After an uncertain couple of years when its future was under threat, the opening of