A new residential home for children experiencing or recovering from mental health crises has opened in North Hertfordshire.

Cherry Tree Cottage is using a trailblazing model of integrated care to support the children staying there.

The home, which is run Hertfordshire County Council and the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) hopes to provide a safe, secure and homely environment for children aged 12 to 17 to stabilise, receive treatment, and access the care they need.

The Comet: The living room at Cherry Tree Cottage.The living room at Cherry Tree Cottage. (Image: Hertfordshire County Council)

Children being supported at Cherry Tree Cottage participate in an intensive 12-week programme incorporating wellbeing, health, and social care support, with the aim of helping them transition back into their usual residence without experiencing a repeat breakdown.

Young people staying at the home will often be stepping down from more intensive tier four hospital provision, or would be admitted to hospital without the specialist support provided at the cottage.

The Comet: One of the bedrooms at Cherry Tree Cottage in North Herts.One of the bedrooms at Cherry Tree Cottage in North Herts. (Image: Hertfordshire County Council)

It is hoped that the home's services will mean fewer young people have to seek help at Accident & Emergency departments, require tier four admission, or be subject to detention under the Mental Health Act.

It should also help prevent additional trauma caused by delayed discharge from an acute unit and reduce the need for high-cost placements - costing up to £17,500 per week - which are often out of the local area and can be damaging for the children.

The Comet: The garden at Cherry Tree Cottage in North Herts.The garden at Cherry Tree Cottage in North Herts. (Image: Hertfordshire County Council)

Cllr Fiona Thomson, executive member for children, young people and families at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “By running this specialist provision ourselves we are saving money, and helping reduce the budget gap we currently face in supporting young people in our care with complex needs.


"It is also helping us deliver better outcomes for Hertfordshire’s children who need health support but might struggle in clinical environments.”

CAMHS service line lead, Nadeem Goodur, said: “We are confident that the young people staying at Cherry Tree Cottage will find this is a safe and nurturing environment to start their recovery.

The Comet: The Cottage even features a garden room for the children staying there.The Cottage even features a garden room for the children staying there. (Image: Hertfordshire County Council)

"As an organisation, HPFT is incredibly proud to have been part of this pioneering work that will make a difference to an often marginalised group of young people.

"It will provide them with safety, stability, and the tools they will need to move on and live fulfilling lives when they leave Cherry Tree Cottage.”