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The project

Kent Community Foundation, and the Roger De-Haan Charitable Trust are proposing a new three year mental health pilot for Kent, to be based in Folkestone. The working title ‘Folkestone Safe Haven’ is taken from a similar project, with centres in Surrey and Hampshire. The proposed service will act as:

  • An alternative Place of Safety where Kent Police can take people who appear to be suffering from a mental disorder and are in need of immediate care or control
  • Out of hours care and support for adults experiencing mental health distress.

Weekends and evenings are times when conventional services shut down and are periods of greatest need for people experiencing mental health distress. Although helplines such as The Samaritans and Mental Health Matters are available, currently there is no physical non-medical place to attend if in distress.

Distinctive features of the service will include:

  • Open 365 days per year, from 18.00 – 23.00 and from 12.00 – 23.00 at weekends and public holidays
  • Central location in Folkestone
  • A Place of Safety trusted by police and ambulance services
  • Accepts clients who; drop in, are brought by police or ambulance, or are referred by other agencies
  • Professional assessment, support and help to self-manage, to prevent future crises
  • A warm, welcoming, stimulating and supportive environment

This initiative is supported by the NHS, Kent Social Services, the Ambulance Service, the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner and by Kent Police

Target audience

People with mental illness, some of whom will be in acute mental distress when they arrive and will be supported to recover over time. Other clients may attend to maintain mental health, to prevent them going into crisis.

Project delivery

The project will be delivered by a third sector provider experienced in supporting people with mental health needs and with access to a range of other services such as counselling, education, health, housing and employment support, to aid recovery and reintegration into the community. Kent Community Foundation will manage the appointment of the third sector provider through a tendering process which will include involvement from all of the co-commissioning funders.

Numbers supported

It is estimated, based on the experience of other similar projects that the project will serve around 660 clients per year

Multi-agency work

The project will be supported by the local NHS mental health services and professionally trained volunteers. It will also require effective collaboration with Kent Police, SECAMB (ambulance service) and the Kent and Medway Partnership Trust for Mental Health.


Year one:

£256,779 revenue + £39,500 capital set-up £296,279

Year two:

Revenue uplift of 3% £261,482

Year three:

Revenue uplift of 3% £266,326

Total cost £824,087

Commitment to date £720,000

Balance of revenue to be secured £75,000

Outcome measures

  • Impact on mental health related calls and police deployment
  • Impact on Section 136 detentions
  • Impact on usage of emergency services
  • Service user attendances – numbers and reasons for attending
  • Impact on acute psychiatric admissions
  • Economic analysis of the costs and benefits of the service
  • Service user feedback – satisfaction and impact


Delivery partner appointed – Nov 2019

Project launch – January 2020 

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind