Charity saved after last-minute donations

Mind Appeal'Unit 22 Cayley Court Scarborough'PA1516-6'Staff and & Volunteers from the Mental Health Charity Scarborough Charity
Mind Appeal'Unit 22 Cayley Court Scarborough'PA1516-6'Staff and & Volunteers from the Mental Health Charity Scarborough Charity

A mental health charity that helps thousands of people in the area has raised the £20,000 it needed to be saved from closure.

Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind (SWR Mind) was able to stay open after more than £10,000 was pledged in the last 24 hours of its month-long appeal.

The mental health charity would have folded if the funds were not found.

In just six weeks SWR Mind, whose 17 staff and 60 volunteers run seven projects helping 1,000 people every year, received £25,786 in cash which is still coming in from people, businesses and organisations from across Yorkshire and beyond.

With just 24 hours to go on Thursday night, the charity still had £4,000 left to raise but this figure was smashed by people’s generosity, moving its staff, who had been placed on redundancy notice, to tears of joy.

Hundreds of people, businesses and organisations donated via Just Giving, text message and cheques, some did fund-raisers while others turned up at the charity’s office in Scarborough with envelopes of cash or made bank transfers so it could continue to stay open after Friday’s deadline.

Despite having existed as an independent charity on the Yorkshire coast for more than 50 years, SWR Mind had hit a financial crisis due to cuts in funding and falling donations at a time when its services are needed more than ever.

SWR Mind has to raise its own money to support people in the local community and does not receive any money from charity shops or national Mind who it is only affiliated to in name.

Sophie Hall, SWR Mind’s head of services said its trustees met on Monday and agreed the charity’s future is secured until September 2015, allowing them time to put in funding bids and other plans in place.

However, the charity is still desperately in need of further funds to continue long term.

She said: “We’ve been simply overwhelmed and moved to tears by people’s generosity.

All the funds will be used to continue helping change local people’s lives and we are incredibly grateful for every single penny which will all go to directly helping people living in our community.

“Mental health charities are among the least popular choices for donations, despite mental health affecting 1 in 4 of us and at a time when there are less and less services for people to access.

“We were in a desperate situation which was very distressing for all the people we work with as well as those who are employed or volunteer for the charity.

“As a charity we need to find £250,000 every year to sustain ourselves, employing 17 staff supported by 60 volunteers who work with some of the most vulnerable people in society, some who have nowhere else to turn to, are suicidal and with no hope left.

“Thanks to your donations we can continue helping people with our one to one Side by Side Service, our support groups in Whitby and Scarborough, our daytime telephone helpline as well as giving people much needed assistance with finance, debt, housing and volunteering opportunities.

“We will continue to need donations but with your help we can ensure nobody ever has to suffer with mental illness alone.”

The charity was backed in its appeal by local author GP Taylor, who spoke about his own battle with depression and suicide attempt in a bid to highlight the charity’s work.