Milestones Trust

News at Milestones Trust


Local MP visits charity to meet adults with mental health needs

31 January 2023 –

Karin Smyth, Labour MP for Bristol South and Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care visited one of social care charity Milestones Trust’s services in Southville, Bristol last Friday, to meet people living there and provide an opportunity for them to talk with her about their experiences.

Karin met a number of people during her visit, including Nicholas who receives support with his mental health needs, and Shirley whose son is supported at the service. She also met Hilary Crowhurst, Milestones’ Chief Executive who spoke with Karin about both the positive outcomes made possible through the service, and the challenges facing the social care sector.

Nicholas and Karin sit smiling at the camera
Nicholas and Karin

Hilary said: “It was lovely to meet Karin and talk with her about the work that our committed support teams do, as well as discuss the challenges that our sector faces. There is little focus by government on the social care needs of working age adults, such as those with mental health needs or learning disabilities, and recruitment of staff remains a huge challenge. We need to see awareness of the importance of social care drastically increased, alongside greater recognition of the high degree of skill and responsibility that roles in social care require.”

Commenting on her visit, Karin said: “I was very pleased to join Nicholas, Shirley and the Milestones team, and I thank the people who live there for allowing me to join them in their home. It was especially good to hear from people with first-hand experience of social care, both during and following the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m taking away some incredibly helpful insights into the challenges that are facing the sector, and have some questions of my own that I’m now keen to gain answers for.

“For example, data on the number of people with a learning disability people being held in long-stay inpatient hospitals is published monthly, but we don’t see the same data published for people with mental health needs who are in the same position.”

“It’s also clear there needs to be greater parity between health and social care if we want to smooth the transition between the two. People working in care do a fantastic job that does not receive the recognition it deserves, and that needs to change.”


Karin Smyth, Mark Melhuish, Hilary Crowhurst and Helen Aitchison
Karin Smyth, Mark Melhuish, Hilary Crowhurst and Helen Aitchison

Mark Melhuish, Service Manager at the service said “It was good to meet Karin and for the people we support here to have the opportunity to meet their local MP and a chance to discuss the issues that are local and specific to them.”

Helen Aitchison, a Senior Operations Manager at Milestones added “We’re really grateful to Karin for joining us and hearing first-hand about people’s experience of receiving support with their mental health needs. It’s important for people who use our services to have their voices heard by their local representatives.”

We look forward to building stronger relationships with Karin and her parliamentarian colleagues in order to raise awareness of our sector and the challenges it currently faces.