The last mental health service in Hertford is in danger of closing because of its funding being scrapped.
The MIND at Mid Herts Hertford Resource Centre, which attracts clients from as far as Hoddesdon, Broxbourne, Cheshunt and Waltham Abbey, has been informed by Hertfordshire’s Community Wellbeing Team that its funding will be stopped at the end of March next year.
The announcement has been a devastating blow to service users, and staff and volunteers have written to councillors, Hertford MP Mark Prisk and Broxbourne MP Charles Walker to get support for the group, which is based at The Seed Warehouse in The Wash.
A 59-year-old woman service user, who has bipolar disorder, said: “I feel we are being abandoned.
“I feel we are being persecuted for being unfortunate to have an illness like this, that’s affected me on and off throughout my life.
“It feels like they are saying we are not entitled to anything.
“MIND is a bit of a lifeline and you can come and have people to talk to who understand you.
“Where are they going to refer people now?”
A male service user, 27, said: “I would probably still be lying in bed if I wasn’t coming here.
“I’ve got depression and anxiety and I’ve had some good counselling here and done a bit on their allotments, which has helped.
“It would be terrible if this place went."
“A lot of people would probably go straight to hospital.”
A man with bipolar disorder, 39, said: “It’s good to come here and chat with other people."
“If this place closes, it would be a great shame.”
MIND costs approximately £32,000 a year.
Project manager Christopher Bland said: “Our argument is it’s incredibly short-sighted.
“We believe it would cost doctors’ surgeries, the NHS and the community a lot more than the £32,000 it takes to run this service.
“I think it will have a serious impact on some very vulnerable people.”
Staff members Cristina Lorefice and Charlotte Cooke, Cristina’s son Samir Amusan, 18, and two service users will do a skydive on Tuesday in aid of the organisation.
Cristina, 47, said: “I hope to raise awareness and extra money and challenge my fear of heights.”
Support her at www.justgiving.com/Cristina-Lorefice.