A Hartlepool grief organisation has turned to cyberspace as part of efforts to save it from closure.
Hartlepool Bereavement Service has launched a crowdfunding internet appeal in a bid to raise £15,000.
There is still a really great need for itLinda Parker, Hartlepool Bereavement Service
The service is facing closure after funding sources have run increasingly dry in recent years and its situation is now critical.
Manager Linda Parker says on the website: “For eight years, the service based in Hartlepool, has provided emotional, practical and social support to more than 1,700 people affected by grief.
“In February 2016 we became a CIO (Community Interest Organisation) and have always been resourced by volunteers and the generosity of funders.
“Sadly, funding has slowly diminished and we desperately need to raise funds to keep the group running and to put a business plan in place to enable to group to be sustainable.”
Linda said the service, based in Park Road, is still in much demand.
But it has become increasingly difficult for the service to secure funding in recent years.
Despite making cutbacks and running on a ‘shoestring’ budget, money to continue is running out.
It has been entirely self-funding for the last two years after previously being supported by lottery grants.
As well as emotional support, it runs a social group with 40 members, and provides advocacy to help clients to deal with financial and legal matters.
Recently, it has sought to increase the level of support it can offer to people bereaved due to suicide.
Linda added: “We want to raise about £15,000. We have got so many people wanting the service yet it may be closing.
“There is still a really great need for it. It is a lot more than just hand-holding.
“People don’t always understand how serious bereavement can be and the effect it has on families.”
The website has received about £150 so far, and the bereavement service says it has also had some generous donations from Hartlepool councillors.
If you would like to donate to the appeal online, go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hartlepool-bereavement-services-will-close
Alternatively, donations can be made payable to Hartlepool Bereavement Service 41 Park Road, TS24 7PW.