Mental health charity looking to expand by creating a Dewsbury base

A mental health and crisis support charity is looking for a base in Dewsbury.

By Martin Shaw
Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 5:30 pm
Gez Walsh, left, and Bob Morse at Platform 1. Photo: Andy Hirst at AH-PR
Gez Walsh, left, and Bob Morse at Platform 1. Photo: Andy Hirst at AH-PR

Platform 1, set up in Huddersfield in 2018, wants to expand its services into North Kirklees and sees Dewsbury as a central location.

The charity helps mainly men – though there is now a women’s group – with mental health issues.

It differs from other services by offering an individual approach, helping address all the problems in someone’s life, be that alcohol, housing, crime, drugs or employment.

Project manager Bob Morse said: “Some people fall between the gaps when they try to access services.

“It may be that if someone seeks help for alcohol problems the service they engage with only deals with the alcohol issue.

"They don’t deal with other issues in people’s lives such as housing, law courts, the police or probation. We go in and look at everything.

“With other services everything is pre-arranged and pre-destined and when your appointments are finished you leave.

“We provide a safe space where people can come and go. People come here because they have nowhere else to go or they are avoiding things.

“They may be lonely or isolated. It’s easy to fall into habits that are not good for you.

"They may sit at home on the PlayStation and have one can of lager which turns into four or six. Then they forget to go out, then they forget to wash.

“We don’t have all the answers - we are not super intelligent – but we have a simple holistic approach.”

Many of the people they help at Platform 1 come from North Kirklees and Bob said: “Dewsbury is crying out for us.

“We have a lot of members who come from Dewsbury. There does seem to be a lack of what we do in North Kirklees and we want to fill that gap.”

Bob and project leader Gez Walsh have enlisted the support of Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood who is helping them find a central location, easily accessible by public transport.

The site, which could even be a vacant plot of land, must be big enough for workshop facilities for such as bike repairs or woodworking and also have private offices for one-to-one conversations.

Mr Eastwood said: “It was great to visit Bob Morse and the team at Platform 1 to see first hand the fantastic work they do to help support people struggling with mental health problems.

“Following our meeting, I have invited the Platform 1 team to come and look around Dewsbury for a suitable location and to discuss further funding opportunities.”

The charity is currently based at Huddersfield Railway Station – hence the name – and the charity won an old Pacer train in a Department for Transport competition. The train was lifted into the station in July and will be used as a kitchen and activity centre.