A NEW residential centre for young people with complex behavioural and mental health needs is almost complete in Romsey.

Hampshire County Council said Hockley House should be ready to open this summer providing an “intensive” short-term placement for six to nine months to three children aged between 12 and 17 suffering complex crises.

It aims to intervene, provide a period of security and stability, and ultimately prevent them from being in crisis.

READ MORE: Former Hayter House in Romsey opening residential home for children

Hampshire Chronicle: Hockley HouseHockley House (Image: TVBC)

Previously known as Hayter House, Hockley House was designed to provide three independent spaces which can be “safely managed” because some of the children potentially who come into the “very high needs provision” may have several court orders, meaning that members of staff would be permitted to contain them in some way.

Stephanie How, the council’s area director in the children’s service department, said: “They will be very complex, and they will have very high needs, so not only do we have to protect them, we have to protect the other children.”

The hope is that the intensive care at Hockley House, will stabilise the children and enable them to move either back home or into shared care accommodation.

Hampshire County Council agreed last summer to spend £1.2m to convert the building and area director Kieran Lyons said the house would be open in early autumn 2023.

However, Mr Lyons said they are making “a lot of progress” but have still “got a way to go”. He is now hoping that the house will be ready to open by early summer.

The house will be the first operational service in Hampshire that combines health and social care staff in one environment.

The project aims to find a solution due to the increase in children with complex needs and the county council’s struggle to find appropriate and suitable accommodation for them.

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Mr Lyons said: “This is one of our potential solutions to try and meet that need. This is an attempt to try and say, actually, let’s catch those young people early; let’s give them support and the intervention they need in an environment that allows us to do it safely and carefully and then they might be able to go back home or they might be able to go into foster placement and that they won’t be escalating.”

Stephanie How added that having the new resource will allow the department to “catch” children earlier enough when they recognise the child is taking a certain “trajectory” and try to stop them on that journey.

She hopes to “divert” children off that path and prevent them needing to go to Swanwick Lodge, a statutory secure children’s home.

The home will see three self-contained maisonettes, each planned to maximise independence and life skills. The house will also have a communal family kitchen, dining area and outdoor spaces.