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Making a difference since the 1970s

In 1976, SUMMIT was founded. We began our journey as Tendring Mental Health and our aim was, and still is, to advocate for residents in our local area who may be living with a mental health illness or long-term health condition.

Since then, we have grown, expanded and rebranded. Today, we are here to support the people in our communities who may need us. We work tirelessly to ensure the voices of vulnerable people are heard.


Now, we want a future where abilities are celebrated, regardless of a persons' social or health care needs. Thanks for being part of the journey.  

Our History


Founded in 1976, SUMMIT is the registered trading name of Tendring Mental Health Support.

SUMMIT (Tendring Mental Health Support) has its roots in advocacy and began to provide a lifeline for residents in Tendring who experienced mental illness over 44 years ago. One of the oldest mental health charities in Essex, SUMMIT provided a day centre and drop-in service from Dorson’s House (now SUMMIT House) located in the centre of Clacton-On-Sea. This proved to be a successful and much needed service for vulnerable people who faced discrimination and exclusion.


The role of the Advocate was born. The Advocate was someone who was independent of professionals and family members and was able to take action on behalf of the individual to help them to say what they want, secure their rights and obtain the services they needed. The need for advocacy grew and trained staff with a knowledge of law legislation and human rights were able to support and speak up for vulnerable people in psychiatric hospitals and ensure they were included in their recovery and decision making.


There was a social care movement (Better Lives) to close long stay hospitals and move adults with Learning Disabilities into the community. SUMMIT was one of the organisations that were central to ensuring that vulnerable adults had someone independent to speak up for for them and empower them to lead meaningful lives in the community.

In 1995 Avril O’Sullivan MBE was appointed as the first CEO of SUMMIT. Avril was one of the founders of formal advocacy in Essex. Helping to ensure that adults with Learning Disabilities had someone to speak up for them and they were empowered to lead meaningful lives. Advocacy Services Essex was formed from the recognition of the need for strong county-wide partnership work and the provision of equitable and consistent advocacy support for all vulnerable people.

2017 saw Tendring Mental Health Support rebrand. After a wide consultation with beneficiaries SUMMIT became the people’s choice. SUMMIT works alongside health and social care colleagues, including a wide range of funders to ensure that residents of Essex receive a tailored, quality service second to none.


SUMMIT continues to provide a voice for the vulnerable across the county of Essex, working in partnership with vulnerable adults and their families. Through a range of diverse services, we continue in our mission to advocate empowerment and support independence.

Would you like to give us some feedback?

We want to hear your feedback. Whether it's to tell us about a positive experience, or to let us know how we can improve, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your comments and suggestions.

You can call us on 01255 429778 or email us using the button below.

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