A Kingston mental health charity, prevented from entering its premises by Kingston Council last year, has said it is now working with the council to plan its future.
Kingston Council representatives recently met with The Fircroft Trust to discuss in detail the purpose of the trust and compromise on options for a building.
Mike Corrigan, one of the directors of The Fircroft Trust, said: “The purpose of the meeting was to let the council understand it’s not only about a building.
“It’s about having a building that’s fit for purpose, to deliver what people who have mental health challenges need to recover.”
Local Kingston and Surbiton MP Ed Davey led the meeting on March 12, which included a series of constructive outcomes including the formation of a project group.
The project group will involve representatives from the council and members of The Fircroft Trust, who will meet again this month to strategically discuss and plan realistic goals for the Trust this year.
The project group will also discuss options for the Trust’s current building on Ditton Road in Surbiton, and suggest alternative building sites that suit the needs of residents who use its services.
An estimated 20 people joined the meeting, including Kingston Council leader Caroline Kerr and and councillor Alison Holt, CEO of Kingston Borough Ian Thomas and CEO of Fircroft Trust Kay Harris.
In a statement, Kerr said: “I’m really pleased that we are working together to support the services of Fircroft Trust.
“Following a meeting with the trust, we believe we can find solutions that will enable the trust’s important work to continue.”
‘Local service for local people’
Corrigan led a presentation that explained the purpose of the charity, the services provided and how people in the community can contact them.
“It’s a local service for local people,” he said.
Founded in 1967, The Fircroft Trust aims to provide positive solutions and opportunities for adults with mental health issues or learning disabilities.
Before Covid-19, The Fircroft Trust annually provided more than 5,000 activities for local people who need support and over 14,500 therapeutic sessions.
Services included counselling, art therapy, music therapy, gardening, yoga and the man shed – a space for men in the community to gather, make friends and share knowledge of skills.
The charity said it was extremely glad Kingston Council wanted to work together with them, so it can continue its invaluable work of helping the community while searching for other premises.