A LIFELINE Basildon charity which offers counselling services to vulnerable adults and youngsters is in danger of closing.

Counselling services offered at MIND which is based in Whitmore Way could end by March if a new funding is not found.

Charity bosses are desperately looking for new funding for the counselling service, which costs £20,000 a year to run, and this year they have only been given £6,600, this is the second year they are running in deficit.

MIND is the only service in Basildon which specialises in mental health counselling and they have 33 volunteer councillors who all have at least three clients each on a weekly basis.

This year they have helped 165 adults and 105 young people aged between seven and 19 years old in the last year.

Manager Pat Holdsworth, who has been with the service for 14 years and is the only paid member of staff, said: “We have spent years building up this service and it would be totally devastating if it shut.

“We only had around 10 councillors when we started and now we have over 30 and we counsel lots of youngsters who greatly need our help.

“We have all worked so hard to ensure the charity is a success and I have opened us up to students who come and train with us, it’s not just the service users who will lose out, it’s the students as well.”

This year they were given £3000 from Fowler, Smith and Jones which is trust fund, £1800 came from the Firebird Fund at the Essex Community Foundation and £1800 came from the Basildon Council for a pilot project to lower the age of youngsters needing counselling.

The rest of the services run by MIND including the Valerie Lodge day centre in Vange, community work are not in funding trouble.

The charity has also appealed to Basildon and Billericay MP John Baron who is meeting with the charity next week to talk about the case.

Pat added: “If we did have to shut we would honour all those people who are on our waiting list and then we would wind down the services.”

Sheila Chesney, the chief executive of MIND Basildon, added: “We are looking at various funding streams and we have applied for grants but we just don’t know what the future holds.

“If we don’t get any grants then the service will have to shut and that will be a tragedy. The work that we do for the people of Basildon is invaluable and there is nothing else like that in the community."

If a business or sponsor wants to get in touch please call in at the office at 440-442 Whitmore way, Basildon or call the office on 01268 284 130.