22nd Feb, 2020

Sandycroft Centre shines at awards despite being destroyed by vandals last year

Ross Crawford 20th Apr, 2019

REDDITCH’S Sandycroft Centre has triumphed at region-wide awards – just months after being almost totally destroyed by mindless vandals.

The West Avenue centre, which supports some of the most vulnerable people in society, beat off competition from across Coventry, North Warwickshire, Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Stratford and Warwickshire County Council to clinch top spot in the Thrive Mental Health Commission Awards 2019.

The awards, backed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), recognise excellence in helping people when they are at their lowest ebb.

The citation described the centre as ‘a gift to the local community’.

For 25 years, Sandycroft has provided help to people with mental health needs in Redditch. It maintains a counselling service with more than 30 professional counsellors against a background of funding cuts and runs the only local domestic abuse service.

Not only that but it also runs educational courses for the general public and helps people with low to moderate mental health problems.

In the last four years it has dealt with more than 1,000 referrals from local doctors.

Yet just 10 months ago much of the centre was lying in ruins after vandals broke in and trashed it.

The babies room had been smashed and toys destroyed.

There were slash marks stabbed into the walls, fire extinguishers let off, taps left running and electric heaters left on.

Double french doors, frame as well, had been ripped out, a wall half destroyed, obscene graffiti scrawled everywhere, chairs and cookers smashed and work done by the Prince’s Trust wrecked and thrown over the back fence.

But then the community rallied round and in a huge team effort, backed by local companies and volunteers, the damage was put right and the centre re-built.

Manager Lee Mackenzie said: “When you think of the region area we were up against, this is a massive achievement and huge credit goes to the people who work here.

“It’s amazing to receive this sort of recognition for the work we do.

“We are a multi-faceted community hub offering all round care to the marginalised of society but at the same time we are open to all, and that’s what makes it work.”

Borough council leader Matt Dormer, representing the WMCA of which Redditch is a non-constituent member, said: “This award is fantastic for Redditch, for Sandycroft and for Lee in particular.

“Considering what they were up against this is an amazing achievement. Congratulations.”

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