WORK to create a new children and adolescent mental health unit in south Hampshire has started.

The low-secure unit will help youngsters with mental health issues, and Dr Nick Broughton, chief executive for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, helped smash the first bricks on the new site.

The Woodhaven unit, based on the Tatchbury Mount site in Calmore, is being redesigned to become an adolescent low-secure hospital, primarily for young people from the south of the country.

This will be a state-of-the-art facility with an education suite, occupational therapy facilities such as art rooms, kitchen and gym as well as 14 individual rooms.

Dr Broughton said: “I’m really excited about the start of this work. The new unit will help to meet the national shortage of beds for young people with special mental health needs. It will mean that patients living in the south of the country will be able to be treated closer to home.”

Woodhaven was previously a Low Secure Hospital for adults with a learning disability.

These patients will be cared for in a brand-new bespoke 10-bed low-secure unit also being built on the main Tatchbury Mount site.

Dr Broughton added “We are working closely with service users and their families/carers on the interiors of the buildings to ensure they provide the best therapeutic environment for recovery.”

Construction work is being carried out by Kier.

The new unit for children and adolescents is due to open in September and the learning disabilities unit in January, 2020.