Sheffield mental health drop-in centre could close after council cuts funding

Staff and centre users at Mental Health Action Group Sheffield which could be forced to close after the council told them their funding will be withdrawn

Staff and centre users at Mental Health Action Group Sheffield which could be forced to close after the council told them their funding will be withdrawn

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A vital mental health centre could be forced to close after Sheffield Council told them they would be withdrawing their funding worth £10,500.

The Mental Health Action Group Sheffield based in Creswick Street, Langsett, provides a space to support around 250 people suffering from conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder.

People who help run the centre were told the devastating news at a recent meeting that they would not be invited to apply for funding again.

One campaigner told The Star the news had 'left grown men in tears' with others saying 'they don't know how they would carry on' without the service.

The council has blamed 'huge budget' cuts from central government as the reason why the funding is to be withdrawn.

The centre is one of 20 schemes that could be losing council support in six months time.

MHAGS treasurer Scott Milne said the news came as a complete shock.

"This is a disaster for the centre. If it goes through we may have to close completely.

"This funding is central to what we do and we'll have to find money from elsewhere.

"If we go, it will break a community that relies on each and it's been a huge support for 25 years.

Scott added the centre was a place for people who are 'well enough to be out of hospital but not well enough to be working'.

The centre is said to be a 'vital service' giving users a place to meet and chat to other people instead of 'sitting in a house staring at four walls'.

"We've had loads of people upset by this, people are devastated," Scott said.

"We've spent a lot of time trying to reassure people who use the centre. They are really worried and they don't know what to do.

"It's place for people who are well enough to be out of hospital but not well enough to be working - the centre is vital, it gives them a place to meet and chat to other people instead of sitting in a house staring at four walls."

Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for community services and libraries at Sheffield Council, said: “As planned, all 20 grant-aid grants are coming to an end in March 2017.

“Despite huge budget cuts from the Government, we are maintaining the level of grant aid investment. We will be opening a new round of grants in time for April 2017 and I welcome applications from groups.”

A petition has been set up calling on the council to reverse the decision.

To sign, visit http://www.mhagsheffield.org/petition.html

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