A CHARITY could face closure in the year it celebrates its 21st birthday.
But Patch Family Support, which provides a range of support services to parents and children across Hartlepool, has been given a welcome £750 boost from the pooled ward member budgets of councillors Chris Simmons, Carl Richardson and Pamela Hargreaves who represent the Victoria ward on Hartlepool Borough Council.
The donation will be used to help fund the parents’ support group at Lynnfield Children’s Centre, but warned that it might not be able to continue operating beyond December without further significant funding.
Patch manager Jan Dobson said: “I am really grateful to the Victoria ward councillors for their generous donation, their support is much appreciated.
“However, the reality is we could be facing closure at the end of the year as our three years of National Lottery funding comes towards an end. Closure is not inevitable because we have been in this position before, but it is a very real possibility.”
She said that 10 members of staff would lose their jobs if the charity closes, and around 20 volunteers would also be affected.
But it is the hundreds of parents and children who rely on the charity’s support that will be hardest hit.
Councillor Simmons, who also chairs Hartlepool Borough Council’s children’s services committee, said: “It is an unpleasant fact of life for all local charities at the moment that they must go through a hand-to-mouth existence, not knowing if they will be able to open their doors next year.
“It is unfair that they should be placed in such a situation.
“Local charities have become the victims of government cuts as the council struggles to maintain services.”
Councillor Hargreaves said: “Although our donation is for a relatively small amount, every little helps, and I would urge other councillors to consider whether they too could use their ward member budgets to support the charity.”
Councillor Richardson added: “Patch Family Support does excellent work with parents and children across the town, and it would be a disaster if it was forced to close.”
Organisations or individuals that are able to provide financial support can contact Jan Dobson at Patch Families Support on (01429) 862727.