A NEW service operated by Mind Monmouthshire will begin in April but will mean the closure of the current drop in centre in Abergavenny.

The 3Cs in Radstock Court along with all other Mind drop in centres in Monmouthshire will close on April 1 following a request by to the charity funders, Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Monmouthshire County Council for different services to be provided.

The charity stresses however that it will be providing different service rather than cutting funding.

Instead of drop in centres, Mind will provide a series of one to one outreach support services and is in the process of developing a self help group which will be run by users themselves where they can meet and support each other.

Mind Monmouthshire has stressed that its staff will ensure that the transition to the new service is handled properly.

Day Services Manager Jonathan Whitmore said, "The one to one outreach service will encourage social inclusion rather than social exclusion working with individuals supporting them in the community.

"We will work closely with mental health teams in Monmouthshire which, in a way, we don't do now but we will work with people to help them become part of the community.

"This new service will allow more for users as individuals rather than being based on a 'one size fits all' group approach.

"It will help people with mental health problems to access community facilities and pursue their own goals with individual plans."

Mind Monmouthshire is also looking for a building in which the self help group can be held as the current 3Cs centre in Radstock Court is said to be "too big and expensive" for such a group, said Mr Whitmore.

However, not all users and supporters are happy about the closure.

One told the Chronicle, "All of us know family or friends who are affected with Mental Health issues, and know how devastating and isolating they can make people feel.

"3Cs was founded by a wonderful lady Anna Knox, and I must also mention the former manager Dot Burgoyne who was a true professional who cared enough to put people first and made 3Cs a vibrant place and was the best manager ever.

"The reason for closure is given as 'lack of funds' but surely a facility as important as this is worth trying to keep open.

"There are grants to be applied for and surely the Executive Committee of Abergavenny MIND or GAVO (Gwent Association of Voluntary Organizations) could help.

"A lot of staff working at the centre are very dedicated and will lose their jobs. In this current climate when depression is a common illness, any of us may be glad of a centre like 3 C's to help us and our families cope, especially now when people need to be admitted to hospital they have to go to Ebb Vale not Maindiff Court as facilities there have been reduced due to cutbacks."

Staff will be invited to apply for jobs for the new service but "there could also be redundancies," said Mr Whitmore.

"The service will continue to be there but with a different purpose, to help people work in the community and offer them support."