ECHO support service in Knottingley among first people to get 'thanks' from Wakefield mayor

Carole Williams and Annette Jones, from ECHO, received a 'thank you' visit from Wakefield's new mayor.
Carole Williams and Annette Jones, from ECHO, received a 'thank you' visit from Wakefield's new mayor.

The team behind a support service for those with addictions and mental health problems have been recognised for their work in the community.

Annette Jones and Carole Williams have run the Every Child Has Options (ECHO) project out of Ash Grove Medical Surgery in Knottingley on Thursday evenings.

Coun Keith also paid tribute to the reception team at Ash Grove Medical Surgery in Knottingley, including Carole Walshaw (left) and practice manager Jo Hewlett (right).

Coun Keith also paid tribute to the reception team at Ash Grove Medical Surgery in Knottingley, including Carole Walshaw (left) and practice manager Jo Hewlett (right).

The service offers one-to-one help to patients, including counselling, family therapy and specialised treatment for drug and alcohol problems and has been used almost 250 people since it began in March.

After an "overwhelming" response to the quality of the service, Annette and Carole were among the first people to be lauded by the 'mayor says thanks' initiative.

This has been started by Wakefield's new mayor, Charlie Keith, who's aiming to shine a spotlight on unsung heroes across the district.

Mrs Jones said: "The idea behind ECHO is to help the GPs by taking on the social side of patients' problems.

Anna Howard, from Wakefield Street Kitchen, was the first person recognised by the 'Mayor says thanks' initiative.

Anna Howard, from Wakefield Street Kitchen, was the first person recognised by the 'Mayor says thanks' initiative.

"That means the doctors can concentrate purely on medical issues.

"The big thing about it is that we are unique - there's no other provision like this, with all of those services under one roof, anywhere in the district.

"The feedback we've had from people has been overwhelming, and we've had people tell us that if this had been in place years ago, x, y and z wouldn't have happened and they'd be on the right track."

Such is the demand for help, ECHO will soon run at Ferrybridge on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

The service has been funded in part by private sector sponsors, and Wakefield District Housing (WDH) are also set to lend their support.

MP Yvette Cooper has also backed the project, saying earlier this year: "ECHO is the solution to some of the most pressings gaps in our communities and it can really help and support families across the town and gives them somewhere to go.

"We have seen austerity lead to a collapse of provision in services that has previously served our communities.

"It's the innovative thinking and dedication of Annette and Carole to reimagine how we can help families once again."

Coun Keith also recognised the work of Ash Grove's reception team while on his visit, and in a separate presentation gave thanks to volunteers at Wakefield Street Kitchen, based in the city centre.

The community organisation provides hot meals to those going hungry.

Local Democracy Reporting Service