The former head of mental health in Aberdeen has backed proposals for a new £3.2 million unit in the city.
Claire Wilkie, who spent more than 20 years working for Aberdeen City Council, said VSA’s plans to build the Abergeldie House facility were critical to ease pressure on hospitals and council services – as well as offering the right environment for people to recover from mental health issues.
Mrs Wilkie, who was the local authority’s service manager for both the mental health and substance misuse teams, said the unit would be welcomed by health professionals and local authorities in the north-east.
She said: “The bottom line is we need this facility and more.
“There are lots of people with mental illness in our society who need great support to help them progress and either go on to get jobs or just be able to move on with their lives.
“There’s no two ways about it, people want to be in their own homes or a really nice environment where they can focus on recovery.
“No one wants to be taking up hospital beds when they don’t need to.
“Abergeldie House will be life-saving.
“This is an incredibly positive project to help people reach their own potential.
“We want people to recover in a nice environment.”
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Social care charity VSA, which is preparing to celebrate its 150th anniversary, plans to build the 20-bed en-suite facility at the junction of Holburn Street and Abergeldie Road.
Charity bosses hope it will support adults with a range of mental health issues on their road to recovery.
VSA’s Changing Lives campaign, backed by the Evening Express, has raised more than £2 million.
The Abergeldie facility will expand on the charity’s existing outreach support service which is in place across the north-east.
The project is being supported by a number of firms, including Standard Life Aberdeen, BP, Apache, the Robertson Trust and A G Bain Trust.
It has also been backed by former Scotland manager and Aberdeen FC legend Alex McLeish and was recently awarded an £80,000 grant by the Wolfson Foundation.
Kenneth Simpson, VSA chief executive, said: “We’re overwhelmed with the support – both for the project and financially – we have received and it shows the people of Aberdeen and beyond know how vitally needed this unit is and how well utilised it will be.”