A REPORT by stakeholders involved with the Bibby Stockholm barge has said enhanced mental health support will be provided to residents on board the vessel, following the death of an asylum seeker in December.

The group has released a new report on the Bibby Stockholm at Portland Port, in which it addressed concerns regarding mental health, on board facilities and community safety.

The multi-agency forum (MAF) is made up of representatives from the Home Office, Dorset Council, Portland Town Council, Weymouth Town Council, Dorset Police, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Dorset and the barge operators Landry & Kling and CTM.

The report said: "Following the tragic death on board in December, there was significant local and national media coverage.

"All residents and staff have access to mental health support, and the Migrant Help helpline is available 24/7 to asylum seekers.

"Local faith leaders attended the barge on the day of the death and continue to provide pastoral care and arrangements are being finalised for enhanced mental health support on site for barge residents alongside their routine GP service."

The MAF also said they are working with the Community Impact Group (CIG) to "dispel rumours" and "misinformation" surrounding the barge.

The CIG comprises representatives from Dorset Police, NHS, Dorset Council, Portland Town Council, Weymouth Town Council, local business community and other community representatives.

The report said: "MAF partners are providing accurate information to dispel rumours and reduce the spread of misinformation.

"The work of the multi-agency Community Impact Group plays a vital role in monitoring the local situation and they are actively working to head-off misinformed rumours.

"Life on board was calm over the Christmas period with no major incidents reported. Several of the residents spent time away from the barge visiting friends and family."

The report also provided an update from the CIG which reported that there have been "no issues of concern" reported recently surrounding the barge or its residents.

The report said: "There are often rumours on social media whenever a crime is committed, alleging barge residents are involved. 

"Dorset Police website provides updates, so if you want further information, please use this resource."

The MAF has also revealed that catering facilities on board the barge were recently awarded a rating ('5') under the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating Scheme from Dorset Council.

Televisions on board the barge which had previously been disconnected by CTM have also now been re-connected, a move which the MAF said provides 'additional recreational facilities for residents'.