BOLTON women suffering from mental health problems have been living as far afield as Leek but now they are staying closer to home.

A specialist unit was created in Royal Bolton Hospital to help women with mental illness in Bolton and help them get back home and into the community again.

Honeysuckle Lodge opened in May after a £2 million refurbishment of an empty unit at the hospital. It was funded by Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Members of The Octagon theatre company helped out on opening day.

At the CCG's most recent board meeting the borough's health bosses were told how women were settling in well to Honeysuckle Lodge and were glad to be nearer their families.

Jane Bradford, clinical director governance and safety presented a report to the CCG, in it a resident called Mrs R said: "I was placed in Leek for a while so I am very glad I’ve been able to come home.

"I didn’t like anything while I was in Leek and while I would obviously like to be back in

my own home, I am much happier to be back in Bolton and here in Honeysuckle Lodge."

The unit is the first of its kind in Greater Manchester, there are currently 11 women living at Honeysuckle Lodge and around 30 women living outside the borough waiting to be brought to Honeysuckle Lodge.

H, also quoted in the report, said: "I was placed over in Bury but I’m still very glad to be back in Bolton. It is much easier for my friends to visit me here at Honeysuckle Lodge, and I feel the local

hospital understands me and my needs much more than they did in Bury. In particular, I feel my psychiatrist understands me here."

Another resident called S had been living in Warrington for three and a half years, she said: ""I found it very difficult in Warrington as my family could only visit me once

a month. Now I’m back in Bolton, I get to see my family all the time.

"They have even visited me today and brought me some crisps. I get leave to go out, and the staff are

really nice and friendly — especially Jen and John. I am much happier here!"