By Tony Earnshaw Local Democracy Reporter
MENTAL health support in Kirklees is to benefit from a £1m injection of cash as Kirklees Council pledges to improve residents’ mental health.
The authority is championing place-based partnerships as a way of overseeing community-based matters across the borough. And the key theme for 2019/20 will be ‘improving mental health outcomes for local people’.
The council is allocating £1.4m to the project, with £1m directed towards mental health and the remaining £400,000 going towards tackling domestic abuse.
There was passionate support for the project from Labour’s Coun Paul Kane (Dewsbury East), who said the issue of mental health had been brought up at a scrutiny panel as an area of concern. He wholeheartedly backed the place partnerships initiative and encouraged his fellow councillors to follow suit.
Coun Kane (pictured) said: “The recommendations that we made on the scrutiny panel have come to fruition and that shows to people that scrutiny does work.
“When we looked at mental health as an issue in Kirklees there was some extremely poor delivery of services and some extremely sad stories that we looked at.
“This is about well-being of people, well-being of people’s lives, loneliness and isolation. If we can do anything with this money that’s going into our areas, which is attached to mental health and that is actually remedying some of these issues, then it’s the best thing that we’ve done for a long time on this council.”
He added: “I think people really do underestimate the effect of mental health in our communities. When you go out there and you’re knocking on people’s doors you’re probably the only person that they’ve seen in a long time. It’s our commitment.
“It should be out there. We should be looking after these people. That’s what we’re here for.
“I have to say this is a fantastic report and it should be well-received by every member of this council. We were committed to deliver something as a scrutiny panel and we delivered it.”
There was applause from the chamber as Coun Kane resumed his seat. Named councillors will head up seven areas – Batley, Birstall and Birkenshaw, Spen Valley, Dewsbury, Huddersfield North, Huddersfield Central, Huddersfield Rural and Colne Valley, which will be divided up amongst Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.
Both Tories and Lib Dems welcomed the proposals.
Conservative group leader Coun David Hall (Liversedge and Gomersal) said he supported the establishment of ward partnerships even though the proposals were “crude”, but that Tories would help shape them.
Lib Dem group leader Coun John Lawson (Cleckheaton) said his party was also willing to take part and to see the project succeed.