BCHA are delighted to be working with Dorset Healthcare to run a new ‘step-down’ mental health support facility in Shaftesbury, the first of its kind in Dorset.

The Dorset HealthCare site, at Pepperell House in Bleke Street, will provide accommodation for up to eight people ready to leave local mental health inpatient care and reintegrate with the community.

It will allow patients to continue their recovery within a community setting, building up the skills they need to regain their confidence and independence.

Over a period of 4-12 weeks, people will be supported to self-manage their mental health, helping them to lead a normal life and reduce the chances of being re-admitted to hospital in the future.

And the arrangement will also free-up badly-needed inpatient beds for local people requiring intensive mental health treatment.

The step-down service will be run by BCHA, which will provide 24/7 support at the site. Staff will work closely with Dorset HealthCare’s community mental health teams, as well as other partners such as GPs and social care workers.

Due to open in January, the facility has been made possible by the generosity of both the Pepperell Blackmore Vale Society – which donated the property to the Friends of Westminster Memorial Hospital – and the Friends of Westminster Memorial Hospital charity, which now owns Pepperell House and has leased it to Dorset HealthCare.

Patients will stay in the newer part of the building, formerly used for sheltered accommodation. Options for using the older, Grade 2 Listed Building section are still under consideration.

The service should cause no disruption to the local community. Operation of the facility will be sensitive to the needs of nearby residents, who have been invited to find out more and ask questions during a public open day at Pepperell House from 2-7pm on Monday, 18 December.

David Emery, Dorset HealthCare’s Hospital to Home service lead, said:

“This is a crucial step forward in the development of local mental health services.

“The unit will provide high-quality support for people leaving hospital, helping them readjust before they return home or move to other accommodation in the community.

“Pepperell House is an ideal location, a great place for people to work towards their recovery goals. We are very grateful to the Friends for making the building available, and we will seek to ensure that the service respects the needs of town centre residents.”

Nicola Greenfield of BCHA added:

"We are pleased to be working with Dorset HealthCare to provide this new service and look forward to welcoming the local community to come and learn more about the plans."




Dorset HealthCare provides community health services covering physical and mental health across Dorset, Bournemouth, Poole and Southampton. Community health services include district nurses, health visitors, school nursing, end of life care, brain injury, sexual health promotion, safeguarding children, diabetes education, audiology, speech and language therapy, orthopaedic care and Dorset’s 12 community hospitals.

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