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Sunday, 05 July 2015

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Mental health charity under threat after funding shock

A West Cumbrian mental health charity is under threat because of funding problems.

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NEW MIND SET: From left, Nerys Brunker, Vivien Nichol and Kerry Mason, who are hoping to keep the Mind in West Cumbria group going

The chairman and trustees of Mind resigned at the organisation’s recent annual meeting because they felt that cash issues would cripple the charity, which helps about 150 people a year.

The charity, which needs to raise around £90,000 a year, has enough money to keep it going until December.

A new board was set up and acting chairman Nerys Brunker said members were unaware of the funding issues surrounding the charity.

She said: “Mind is a vital service for the people of West Cumbria and we are all confident that we can keep it running if we drum up enough support.

“We would like to acknowledge all the hard work and passion the chairman brought to the organisation and it was a big shock to everyone at the annual general meeting when the funding issues were revealed.

“Our users were very distressed when they heard that the service was under threat, but we have assured them we will do everything we can to save it.”

She said users of the charity, which was set up 25 years ago, had doubled since October.

Now based in Whitehaven, Ms Brunker said Mind had helped thousands of people over the years.

Trustees will now apply for grants and intend to lobby Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham over the coming weeks.

Staff members will relocate to Workington Town Hall, in Oxford Street, Workington, on Monday to cut costs.

Ms Brunker added: “We had so much support from GPs, councillors, the mayor, users and organisations.

“If this charity goes, then mental health in the area is going to suffer considerably.”

The charity offers advice and support for people across West Cumbria.

Services include counselling, community group sessions, dancing and friendship groups.

A public meeting will be held on September 4 at the Curwen Centre, Workington, to discuss funding.

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