safety, security,comfort and friendship
- for life
Established in 2018, Hammersley Homes is working to provide a home for life for adults suffering from enduring mental illness – specifically those whose condition cannot be cured, those who will not recover.
Founder and CEO Louise Hallett has first hand experience of what it’s like to watch a family member with incurable mental illness suffer the degradation of being treated like a criminal and of being told to “pull yourself together”.
She has all too often felt frustrated and angry when she finds out that, once again, her relative has been found wandering the streets in a bewildered state and has committed a string of minor offences.
And this person is far from being the only one.
Confused individuals like her are often picked up by the police, taken to prison and locked up – instead of receiving the treatment they had forgotten to take and so desperately need. The illnesses they suffer from may have no cure, but their symptoms can, in most cases, be easily managed. And our prisons are already horribly overcrowded – largely with unfortunate people who suffer from chronic mental ill-health.
These vulnerable people are not criminals. Far from it. Simply put, they are unwell.
Or, if they are lucky, they could be sectioned and hospitalised.
Louise’s family member has often said that she quite likes being in hospital because she knows she’s with “friends”, even though she hates the hospital environment, because it reminds her of prison. Relief is, however, usually short-lived, as patients like her are usually discharged too quickly because the bed is needed for someone else.
And so, the expensive cycle begins again.
It has become increasingly clear to Louise that the gradual chipping away of funding for mental health is having a devastating impact on tens of thousands of sufferers like her relative and their families. Following the introduction of the “Care in the Community” initiative in the 1980’s, many of the residences, homes and hospital wards that accommodated adults who suffered from enduring mental illness have been closed, and the closures continue.
Now, all too frequently, these unfortunate and vulnerable people live alone, often in chaos and unable to manage; or they are homeless; or they live with family members who one day won’t be there for them. They live too often without friends, a sense of community, or a sense of purpose – things we all need for our general wellbeing.
Louise’s alarm at this deficit of care, and watching her relative struggle so desperately, has ignited a passion in her to become part of the solution.
And so, in 2018, Louise founded the charity Hammersley Homes.
Louise’s vision for the charity is simple: to provide safety, security, comfort and friendship for life to vulnerable adults with a history of enduring mental health problems – a sector that for some time has been underfunded and ignored by the authorities.
A Hammersley Home will provide vulnerable adults with a home for life. We want to do all we can to keep these people safe, to reduce their loneliness and sense of chaos, keep them out of hospital and out of trouble with the law, and relieve some of the financial pressure on the police, mental health trusts, housing associations – and the taxpayer.