Our volunteer Manuela Lopez was involved in the discussions about the language used to describe the centre, the first of its kind in North Somerset, so the new service didn’t sound just like a medical centre. Manuela, who was on the project's steering group told HW it was important to look at things from a service user perspective to make the crisis centre seem appealing - to consider for instance a softer look inside as opposed to clean and clinical.
She said: “I visited another similar project in Swindon and it was very bright and uplifting. We thought it was important to think about colour schemes as well as language used so it is a place that feels comfortable and inviting not just a medical setting. Safe Haven has been very much a co-produced project.”
Manuela was also part of the procurement process which led to Second Step being given the contract to run the service. It is not a drop-in facility, please see referral details below.
The Safe Haven Crisis Centre opened in May 2020, but due to the pandemic, it was repurposed to provide remote support. Since March 2021 it opened its door to clients. The service commissioned by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG), in partnership with Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Trust (AWP)is a mix of remote and face to face support.
The centre is open seven days a week, between 6pm and midnight. People aged 16 and over can self-refer to the service or be referred by a relevant professional – such as a GP, police officer, paramedic, social worker or voluntary organisation. Additionally, parents and carers are able to contact the centre if they have worried about a loved one. While ongoing social distancing restrictions are in place, the centre will operate on a bookings only basis with no drop-ins allowed.