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"We Did It!" - Local Mental Health Charity Saved From Closure Following 'Overwhelming' Support

SWR Mind Celebrating Being Saved From Closure


A local mental health charity has been saved from closure with just 24 hours to spare after an overwhelming flood of £10,000 donations were made by people touched by its heart-breaking fight for survival.

Leading mental health charity Scarborough Whitby and Ryedale Mind (SWR Mind) was on the verge of closure after a shortfall of £20,000 left it unable to continue operating into the next financial quarter.

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 wanting to donate to its Save SWR Mind Crisis Appeal.

With just 24 hours to go on Thursday night (28 May), 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 (29 May) 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.

Best-selling author and screenwriter GP Taylor from Scarborough broke his silence about his own battle with severe depression that led him to almost take his own life and of how the charity gave him life-saving support along with around 1,000 other people every year that it also helps with mental illnesses.

The charity’s campaign on social media also went viral on Twitter with a whole host of celebrities tweeting their support using the hashtag #saveswrmind.

Some people and businesses have pledged to support the charity - which spends all of the money it receives on physically helping people living in the local community – long term. But SWR Mind is still desperate for more and is urging anyone who can help or who would like to fund-raise to get in touch.

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."

GP Taylor, speaking out on behalf of SWR Mind said:
"The charity is a lifeline for so many people and it was terrifying that it could have closed. Mental illness can affect anyone at any time during their lives and I'm delighted this charity can carry on its life-saving work. Please support them if you can." 
Around 40,000 people – that's one in four people living in Scarborough Whitby and Ryedale - will experience mental health difficulties at some time in their lives.

SWR Mind is the only charity in the area to undertake outreach work and take urgent referrals from other services for people suffering from illnesses including anxiety, depression, lifelong illnesses such as Bipolar and Schizophrenia, and those experiencing psychosis or battling an eating disorder.

In return for donations from businesses, SWR Mind can offer mental health awareness training, workshops and drop in surgeries for employers.

People can continue to donate to SWR Mind on its website www.swrmind.org.uk, its Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/swrmind or by texting SWRM22 with the amount they want to donate in £ to 70070.

They can also send a cheque made payable to Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind, PO Box 304, Scarborough, YO11 3YJ.

SWR Mind can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SWRMind1, follow them on Twitter @swrmind1, log onto their website www.swrmind.org.uk or call (01723) 588008.

"We Did It!" - Local Mental Health Charity Saved From Closure Following 'Overwhelming' Support Reviewed by Editor on 21:25:00 Rating: 5

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