VIDEO: Sheffield mental health campaigners protest at council funding withdrawal

Campaigners are unhappy Sheffield Council will not be able to guarantee their funding for the mental health centre
Campaigners are unhappy Sheffield Council will not be able to guarantee their funding for the mental health centre
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Campaigners have voiced their anger after finding out Sheffield Council will not be able to guarantee their funding to run a vital mental health centre.

Campaigners have voiced their anger after finding out Sheffield Council will not be able to guarantee their funding to run a vital mental health centre.

Users of the Sheffield Mental Health Action Group held a protest outside Sheffield Town Hall before a full council meeting.

The centre based on 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 their £10,500 funding would not be guaranteed.

One campaigner previously 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.

Campaigners are unhappy Sheffield Council will not be able to guarantee their funding for the mental health centre

Campaigners are unhappy Sheffield Council will not be able to guarantee their funding for the mental health centre

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

It's understood MHAGS will be invited to apply for council funding again but the group will have no guarantee of income.

MHAGS project co-ordinator Tim Jones, 47, is "It's a complete community, it's what the people do for the centre.

The people make the organisation and the people who have been marginalised they have been shunned from society because of the stigma which still exists around mental health and we think it's absolutely appalling that Sheffield City Council should treat us in such a manner.

"These are vulnerable people who have got nowhere else to go.

"We have no paid workers, we've never had any paid workers so that money was allocated by Sheffield City Council all went on utilities and basic running of the organisation.

Tim added he won't abandon the people who use the service.

"We've had members that have been at this for at least 20 plus years and there is no way I'm going to let it happen and I'm not going to let these people down.

"I made a vow when I was 24 years old to honour this day centre and I'm still doing it at 47 and I'm never going to give up."

Mark Hill, 52, of Parson Cross has used the centre ever since it first started up in 1992. He said it was very worrying that the centre is under threat.

"It's a group of people that really matter to me. We rely on each other for the support.

"It's a vital service that keeps people out of a hospital ward suffering from mental health. A place like this takes pressure away from the NHS."

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