Chard drop-in centre not under threat, say South Somerset Mind

South Somerset Mind's former base in Dampier Street in Yeovil

South Somerset Mind's former base in Dampier Street in Yeovil

First published in News

A DROP-IN centre in Chard is not under threat of closure, according to mental health charity South Somerset Mind.

The charity was two months away from insolvency earlier this year but it has managed to raise enough cash to continue providing services to communities and says all services are ‘absolutely safe’.

It means the weekly drop-in centre at Chard Young Person’s Centre in Essex Close will run until at least August 2015.

The Chard drop-in centre is a National Lottery funded project and although South Somerset Mind runs it, it has no financial ties with the charity.

The sessions in Chard, held every Tuesday between 2-5pm, offer people support, information and signposting support with mental distress.

South Somerset Mind, which will be 30 years old next year, was forced to sell its Markwick Centre headquarters in Dampier Street, Yeovil, and relocate to enable it to keep providing its services.

It has also cut its spending by 37% for the year ahead.

At South Somerset District Council’s District Executive meeting in April, councillors approved a loan of £25,000 to the charity.

The ‘bridging loan’ was made to help it ‘on the road to recovery’ with its re-stabilisation plans.

A bridging loan is a sum of money lent by a bank to cover an interval between two transactions, typically the buying of one house and the selling of another.

This short-term loan, secured against the Markwick Centre, was part of a raft of measures to reduce costs and achieve a balanced budget.

South Somerset Mind chairman Anne- Marie Rowson told councillors at the April meeting that it was seeking the loan to ‘buy some time’ as an offer had been made to buy the centre but this in turn would cause a problem because some of its services were delivered from there.

Selling the property generated funding to keep the charity going but an alternative base was still needed and the loan enabled the charity to move to its new premises on the Houndstone Business Park in Yeovil.

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