Hartlepool project which helps kids is saved from closure

Haven officials celebrate its brighter future.
Haven officials celebrate its brighter future.

A Hartlepool project - which helps children who are facing social exclusion - has been saved from closure thanks to a donation from Children in Need.

The Haven was founded in 2003 by a group of youth workers and professionals, who recognised a gap in service provision for young people who are emotionally distressed.

Spokesman Mick Sumpter explained more about its work.

He said the aim was to relieve suffering and distress as well as improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young people aged 11 to 25 years, and it does that through a free and confidential counselling service.

But the financial position has been tough for the group and Mick added: “As you can imagine, the last five years has been a difficult time for most of Hartlepool’s charitable organisations with regard to funding and it’s true to say that uncertain times are still ahead, with no real signs of improvement.

“Sadly, Hartlepool has witnessed several organisations that have closed due to funding and maybe some are still yet to fall.

“The Haven itself has suffered and just recently we were only weeks away from closing, the coffer was empty.

“But our prayers were answered. Children in Need came along with a three-year funding deal worth £60,000.”

The service can be accessed directly by young people.

It also accepts referrals from parents, teachers, social workers and GP’s with the young person’s knowledge and consent.

Mick had praise for the people who worked hard to save the project. He added: “Project co-ordinator Anne Brown and trustee Peter Gowland worked closely to prepare the application and as you can imagine both very proud of their achievement.”

Mick praised Anne, one of the co-founders of the Haven, for being the backbone of the centre and for steering the ship “through thick and thin.

“Despite these difficult times, Anne has worked tirelessly to keep the centre open, even to the point where she didn’t even want draw her monthly salary and would have rather the money stay in the bank contributing to the general utilities.”

He praised her as “an extraordinary person.”