Cash-stricken charity faces closure of base for vulnerable adults unless it receives help
A CHARITY that is a lifeline for people with mental health issues may have to close in months because of a cash crisis.
As well as depriving service receivers of vital support the closure of Erewash Mental Health Association's Touchwood Centre in Ilkeston would also mean the loss of four jobs.
The association, which was formed 30 years ago, used to have another centre in Long Eaton but that closed in April because of lack of funds, leaving just the one which caters for up to 40 people with mental health issues.
The Ilkeston centre, in Charlotte Street, offers a welcoming, safe and supportive environment where adults can have a meal, take part in various activities including learning life skills and computer training, recreation and sport, and receive help and support.
The centre, which is open from 10-3.30pm each weekday, is overseen by a board of directors.
One of them, Lesley Grand-Scrutton, said: “There have been drastic cuts in Derbyshire to funding mental health services by both the county council and the clinical commissioning group.
“The cuts have moved the goalposts so that instead of providing long-term centre-based support, as we do, what is offered is short-term support within the community by a national mental health charity.
“We are providing a vital service which is not the same as the alternative offered.
“Our service receivers are happy with what we do and don't like change. They are vulnerable and we are their lifeline.
“If we don't get sufficient help within months we will have no option but to close the the centre which will impact on the lives of the less fortunate in this area.
“There has been a lot of high profile, including royal support for mental health issues, but in our experience this does not filter through to grass roots level.”
The association received a grant of more than £100,000, but that stopped on March 31. It costs £8,000 a month to run the Ilkeston centre.
Manager Lynn Orchard said: “We are managing to continue by using our reserves at the moment but we estimate that we can only continue to do that for another six months.
“We would appeal for any business, charity or philanthropist who could offer their financial support to contact us.”
Comments from service receivers include: 'Staff offer appropriate advice and a friendly welcome',
'The centre allows members not to feel isolated when symptoms are scary', and 'Activities have made me happier and self-assured'.