Wednesday, November 29, 2006

North Birmingham Community Arts Secures Its Pitch

North Birmingham Community Arts is Mental Health User led and run. Nearly all of its membership has experienced MH services and some still do .

It secured its pitch to practice arts and create some kind of future at the 610 Community Centre in Kingstanding Birmingham by forking money out from its own purses. Its AGM is on 30th November 2006 at the 610.

The context of MH services has been changing with a lot of emphasis in parts of Birmingham on discouraging Users to use Day Centres. However it appears Users are taking a stand on their own - so UserWatch hears - and the Hawkesley Day Centre with an unfortunate "Top-Down" policy of change, not really guided by Users themselves has seen a bit of a rebellion at last because Users in the area have contacted MP Dr Lynne Jones and she is drawing a line with services to follow by making several recommendations to them - Userwatch will have more to say on this in the next article on these matters...

NBCA itself is partly borne out of a need to keep some control over what Users feel they can do in their own spaces whilst still feeling they have a legitimate right to link back to services and expect some input of support albeit very small ..It might be said that NBCA would have used space within the services themselves but according to the experience of some Users its not been facilitated very enthusiastically. Although at the Phoenix Centre in Harrison Rd Erdington , it appears the regime is relaxed and more supportive than some other Day Centres .

So NBCA has pushed to create safe autonomising space (something the services should have done) in the absence of a form of postive space enablement within the services themselves , and not without stress to all concerned ...This element of stress Userwatch is aware , has been shared across Birmingham by Users .

In the multi-layered dynamic of changing Day Services , a new ethos of "social inclusion" and a debt ridden Trust ( in 2005 - 6 ) looking for ways to ration staff and not employ a full quota of them, the changing services have been pushing Users out and away from them - There have been some victims of stress and ill health because of this .

The partial backlash is evolving to this services paradoxality of stressing Users which often misses the point that many Users (longer term) need special ways to use services without the services trying to disinvent elements of dependency that are perfectly legitimate by virtue of proper recognition of genuine mind and deep personality difference from the more "normal" "functionality" that can go to work and sustain jobs - its that , that just needs supporting more thoughtfully ... Real psychological difference ...

Anything else is a lack of recognition dressed up inside new "social inclusion ideologies" meant to fit everyone regardless of their REAL differences..


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