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Service users and carers forum set to visit east coast towns

​Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust will be taking its Eastern Service Users and Carers Forum (ESCF) on a tour of 10 towns and villages in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area.

From 18 to 22 August, members of public who may have difficulty finding support due to their locality, will be able to receive valuable advice and support from Trust staff and partner organisations.

The tour will visit:
• Martham Village Green, 18 August, 9:30am-12:30pm
• Winterton Village Hall, 18 August, 1pm-4:30pm
• Great Yarmouth Market Place, 19 August, 9:30am-12:30pm
• Bradwell car park, 19 August, 1pm-4:30pm
• Lowestoft, London Road North, 20 August, 9:30am-12:30pm
• James Paget Hospital, car park B, 20 August, 1pm-4:30pm
• Bungay, St Mary’s Street, 21 August, 9:30am-12:30pm
• Beccles, Opposite Lloyds Bank, 21 August, 1pm-4:30pm
• Halesworth Thoroughfare, 22 August, 9:30am- 12:30pm
• Southwold, South Green, 22 August 1pm-4:30pm

Howard Tidman, a Charge Nurse at Great Yarmouth Acute Services and one of the organisers of ESCF, said: "Norfolk and Suffolk is a very rural area and our trip is a response to the difficulties people may face when trying to visit our more central hubs such as Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

"People with mental health issues or concerns often find it a struggle to get out of the home. Even things like financing trips can make it difficult. Carers, too, often have to be on hand 24 hours a day, making it difficult for them to the find time to seek help and support.

"So, rather than them struggle to come and see us, we thought this roadshow was great idea so that we could go and meet them.”

Joining the Trust and its Wellbeing Service will be staff from partner organisations including Feedback, Mind, Healthwatch Norfolk, Carers Agency Partnership for Norfolk, Healthwatch Suffolk and Suffolk Family Carers.

"It’s the very first tour of its kind and we look forward to meeting all those people who haven’t been able to visit us, through a variety of reasons, to make use of, learn more about, or tell us what they think of our services," added Howard.

"Through the wide range of partners we can also put people in touch with other organisations outside of ourselves, such as the Samaritans and Rethink, if people feel they need help in these areas.

"We’d like to invite anyone with an interest in mental health to come and visit us, even if it’s just to say 'hello'."

Currently, service users and carers meet at ESCF meetings, held once a month, alternately at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth and the Aspire Centre in Lowestoft.