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Board votes to save Kentmere mental health ward

July 28, 2016 6:39 PM

Mental health campaigners with Tim Farron MPSouth Lakeland MP Tim Farron has hailed a "huge victory" for South Lakeland residents as the Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust Board has this afternoon voted not to close the ward. Tim's planned protest march on Saturday will now be a victory rally at Abbot Hall Park in Kendal.

Two months ago, the Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust announced that the ward would suddenly close, provoking outrage among local residents. The closure would have seen mental health patients travelling as far as Carlisle, Barrow and Whitehaven for treatment. Since then, Tim has campaigned tirelessly against the closure of the ward, meeting numerous times with health bosses and collecting over 7000 signatures opposing the closure.

Tim's planned march will now be a victory rally, which will take place at Abbot Hall Park on Saturday. The public should turn up from 1.30pm, for a 1.45pm start. Tim will speak, as well as a number of former patients from the ward and those who work in mental health locally.

Tim said: "Today's victory is the result of months of campaigning by local people, who have made very clear to local health bosses that we will not accept mental health services being removed from South Lakeland.

"I would like to thank every single person who signed the petition, took part in the consultation, wrote to the Trust or spoke out about this issue. Today is evidence of the fact that when we campaign together, we can achieve real victories for our community. This decision today will make a massive difference to those who rely on mental health services, and to their friends and family.

"I would also like to thank local organisations such as South Lakes MIND and the Westmorland Gazette for their efforts in this campaign. The Trust also deserve credit for listening to the concerns of local people and taking them on board.

"The Trust recognises that the ward is not ideal, and the priority must now be to make the amendments needed to improve the ward.

"I look forward to Saturday's rally, and to celebrating this important victory with local people."