Mental health sanctuary opens in memory of South Shore man, 24, who jumped from town centre car park

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A mental health sanctuary in memory of Elliot Taylor, who jumped to his death from the roof of Talbot Road multi-storey, has finally opened its doors.

Elliot's mum Catherine Taylor outside the new Elliot's Place

Elliot’s mum Catherine Taylor outside the new Elliot’s Place

‘Elliot’s Place’, within the grounds of Blackpool-based charity Empowerment on Bispham Road, will provide a safe space in the local community for men suffering with mental health problems and who need immediate support.

Its creation was inspired by Elliot, 24, of Squire’s Gate Lane in South Shore, who tragically took his own life on September 14 last year.

Elliot's Place, situated in the grounds of the Empowerment headquarters on Bispham Road

Elliot’s Place, situated in the grounds of the Empowerment headquarters on Bispham Road

Following his death, his mum, Catherine Taylor, made it her mission to tackle the lack of mental health support services by creating a safe space for young men to talk about their problems and find comfort within their community.

This was followed by months of fund-raising, with a four day hike organised by Elliot’s friends bringing in £4,000 from a goal of just £2,000. In total family, friends and local businesses raised £20,000 for the development of Elliot’s Place, with their immense efforts meaning the building was completed well ahead of schedule, as it was initially predicted to open in summer 2022.

Catherine said previously: “Elliot struggled to get the support that he needed without having to go through a long referral process. It was not having that support immediately that was the problem. Whereas this is for young men, local to Blackpool, who can come at any time without having to go through the system and wait, as it is, to have a referral put through.”

Mike Taylor, Elliot’s dad, added: “We are so proud of all the work that has gone into creating Elliot’s Place.

Elliot Taylor, who died in September last year

Elliot Taylor, who died in September last year

“Elliot was a wonderful young man who is very much missed, and the creation of Elliot’s Place has been very much bittersweet for us family and friends. We take comfort in knowing that we have created this hub to help prevent any more young men feeling they have nowhere to turn to and losing their lives instead of getting the help they need.

“We would like to thank everyone who donated, all those who did a great job fundraising and those in the local community for their help to build this brilliant facility.”

Elliot’s Place was built by Midlands-based container conversion specialist, S Jones Containers. Working with Empowerment and Elliot’s family, they designed a large L-shaped unit to provide two spacious rooms, which will be used to offer a range of support services. These include one-to-one peer mentoring, drop-in services for immediate support, and workshops for local community services such as the Samaritans and the local police force.

Peer mentors – nicknamed ‘Elliot’s Mates’ – will take charge of the day-to-day running of the building, and have received training in suicide prevention and safeguarding.

Linzi Cason, a service and community engagement manager at Empowerment, said: “It’s fantastic to see the final structure in place, ready to welcome the young men who really need the mental health support services from us.

“In the long term, Elliot’s Place will be instrumental to how we help the young men in our area with mental health struggles. Our mentors will help provide the suicide prevention board with insight on what these young men actually struggle with in their day-to-day lives, and how we can help them with those struggles and therefore reduce the risk of suicide. Elliot’s Place will be an invaluable tool to improving the wellbeing of men in Blackpool.

“We’re so pleased we have created a sanctuary where we can remember Elliot and celebrate his life, and also a safe place for other young men to share their troubles and alleviate any mental health struggles.”

Andrew Capella, a conversions general manager from S Jones Containers, said: “It goes without saying that mental health support services are a lifeline in communities, so we were keen to help when Empowerment approached us for help with the creation of this much-needed community space.

“We’re proud to have been able to work with Empowerment and Elliot’s family on such an important project. It’s great to see the completion of Elliot’s Place and see the community come together to support the build. We hope that the container unit will provide sanctuary and support to those who need it.”