FORMER Kursaal Flyers’ drummer Will Birch officially opened the Poplar Adolescent Unit at Rochford Hospital.

Run by South Essex Partnership Trust, staff at the unit include child and adolescent psychiatrists and other child and adolescent clinicians.

Mr Birch, who is also an author, songwriter and record producer, cut a ribbon to mark the occasion before a plaque was unveiled and guests toured the unit.

He said: “Having been closely associated with the life of Ian Dury, who faced many challenges, it gives me great pride that a unit like this is available for local kids.

“I know, having seen the facilities here first hand, the unit will provide the expertise these young people need to help them through their adolescent years with the support they deserve.”

The trust provides mental health services to people all over south Essex.