New sports pitch opens for patients at Hellingly secure unit

A brand new multi-use games area has been opened by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at its medium security hospital at Hellingly.

Thursday, 9th May 2019, 12:13 pm

The sports pitch will be available for use by patients and help support their mental health recovery.

The sports pitch has been made possible thanks to Heads On, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s charity, which had grants from the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust, Wolfson Foundation, Peter Harrison Foundation, Sport England, Garfield Weston Foundation and Bernard Sunley Foundation.

The partnership’s Sam Allen said, “This new facility will be instrumental in enabling us to support the recovery and independence of our patients in a secure setting. Our secure and forensic service is the home of the concept of secure recovery, which recognises that recovery can be supported to occur even in secure environments. These sports facilities at Hellingly will revolutionise the way staff are able to provide care for patients.”

The multi-sports ground at the Hellingly Centre SUS-190905-105657001

Hellingly is a secure mental health hospital, providing accommodation, treatment and support for people with severe mental health problems who have been imprisoned or admitted directly to hospital following a criminal offence.

The new sports facility will enable patients to participate in outdoor sports such as football, netball, badminton, tennis, volleyball, basketball, yoga and tai chi.

A trust spokesperson said, “As a result, patients will have the opportunity to do things many of us take for granted such as being an active participant, socialising, building confidence, supporting others, listening and making active choices.

“Exercise has been shown to improve both physical and mental health for people with a range of mental health problems, including psychotic disorders and schizophrenia. Benefits of sports participation include reduced anxiety and happier moods, reduced stress, clearer thinking, greater sense of calm, increased self-esteem and reduced risk of depression.

“Patients are usually admitted to The Hellingly Centre for one to two years and are unable to leave the site to participate in sporting activities. Having the sports area within the secure site perimeter will mean all patients have the opportunity to participate and start realising the mental and physical health benefits of sports participation.”