Construction begins on £14m mental health unit in Chester

Ancora House to provide modern environment for children and young people with mental health problems

MP, Chris Matheson, and young people help to decorate the hoarding at the site of the new Ancora House CAMHS development

MP, Chris Matheson, took up the challenge and joined young people in creating a colourful piece of artwork to celebrate the launch of building work on Ancora House – a new NHS child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) development in Chester.

Graffiti artist, Kieron, showed young people spray paint techniques and together they created a mural on the hoardings surrounding the building site.

The design depicts the name chosen by young people: ‘Ancora’, a latin noun meaning hope, refuge and support - which describes the aims and objectives of the unit.

Tim McDougall, clinical director for CAMHS at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), said: “There is a shortage of CAMHS inpatient services nationally and so Ancora House responds to a known need for better mental health services for young people.

“We currently provide two inpatient wards and CWP also has a home-based treatment team and a specialist outpatient eating disorders service. Ancora House will help us to centralise services and improve our young people’s experience.

“It will mean a better space for staff to provide those services from, and the benefit of bringing services together will improve the treatment pathway and reduce length of stay. We have visited lots of other sites, as well as listening to the young people who use our services and those who refer patients to us, to ensure that we respond effectively to their needs.”

Ancora House will be a ‘Tier 4’ service, providing inpatient and day patient care for children and young people with severe and/or complex mental health conditions. This single-storey unit will be built within the grounds of the Countess of Chester Health Park on a site owned by CWP. It will provide 26 beds with day spaces, a central nursing station, an educational centre, visiting areas, and communal spaces. There will also be secure gardens with horticultural and landscaped areas providing recreational facilities including outdoor exercise equipment.

Designed by Gilling Dod Architects, the scheme is being developed by Villicare LLP, a joint venture between CWP and Ryhurst, and will be built by Eric Wright Construction.

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Gilling Dod Architects (more information, website)

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