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Funding problems force charity to cut services

Business co-ordinator Sarah Robinson said the charity kept costs to a minimum but needed £65,000 to £75,000 a year.
Business co-ordinator Sarah Robinson said the charity kept costs to a minimum but needed £65,000 to £75,000 a year.

A charity that helps hundreds of people with mental health problems is to close some of its services to avoid running out of money.

The chairman of Newark Mind, Mr Geoff Dowell, said it had been a tough decision to stop drop-in services and taking telephone calls from June 29, but the charity’s board decided it was the only way to survive.

“If we continued as we were we would have run out of money and that cannot happen,” he said.

“I am optimistic Newark Mind will continue in some form. The reason for it being established was to help people in need of support and there are now more than ever.”

Mr Dowell said the charity no longer received regular funding and the way its work was commissioned had changed.

“We have to make sure we are eligible for funding,” he said.

Mr Dowell said the charity had come to the end of projects that received funding.

It had applied for new funding and was looking at other ways of bringing in income, but would not know if it was successful until September.

Three members of staff will remain at the London Road premises to help ensure the charity continues.

A weekly art group run by volunteers will carry on.

Business co-ordinator Sarah Robinson said the charity kept costs to a minimum but needed £65,000 to £75,000 a year.

Much of that comes from the community and Sarah said it was vital businesses that pledged to support Newark Mind continued to do so.

The charity is one of three that will benefit from the Newark Half-marathon in August.

“I have 13 runners signed up and they are determined to raise as much as they can,” said Sarah.

The charity is helping 90 people on a regular basis and has 300 people on its books. It receives calls and visits from people wanting help.

There has been a 300% increase in the number of people using Newark Mind — up from 71 in November to 218 in February. Over the past year it had contact with 4,790 local people.

Referrals are made by GPs and the community mental health team.

Sarah said many people were shocked and saddened by the news.

“There has also been anger because of an increase in people with mental health problem. This a terrible time for those in need,” she said.

The sister of a man helped by the charity said it saved his life.

“The staff who supported him showed a flexible, kind and transparent approach,” she said. “They helped him see his worth again and enabled him to move forward.”

One of the charity’s most recent projects is a CD — Let Summer Come — that uses music and lyrics to reflect on the experiences of people using Newark Mind. Go to www.let summercome.com for details.


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