“HEART-breaking” is the word vulnerable people have used to describe the loss of a mental healthcare service they think of as a second home.
The Journal has reported on the troubles faced by the charity South Lincolnshire Mind since Lincolnshire County Council cut all of its £80,000 funding last year.
Despite their best efforts to keep the Westgate centre open, trustees decided at a meeting on Monday that they have no other option but to close it down.
Tears were in the eyes of both service-users and volunteers as they spoke this week about the bleak future ahead.
Margaret Burwell, 70, of Manchester Way in Grantham, has been a volunteer and service-user since it was established more than 20 years ago.
She said: “We’re a family. Since we heard Mind was closing I keep crying all the time. It’s the vulnerable people who are being made to suffer.”
Trustee Val Green, 68, added: “What’s happening is absolutely appalling, we’re all devastated.”
The charity provides a drop-in centre for 60 regular service-users to support each other and have a hot meal.
It also provides a weekly money planning meeting where users have their money split into packets to cover their bills and food. It is feared that without this, many of the vulnerable service-users will spend their money on other things and go hungry.
Mind project manager Clive Henderson, 56, fears that the loss of South Lincolnshire Mind may lead to suicide among its users.
He said: “The users you will see wandering around town because they have nowhere else to go are the ones who will be OK, it’s the ones who will stay at home I’m concerned about. That breeds depression which breeds self-harm and in some cases leads to suicide.”
County councillor Graham Marsh, executive councillor for adult social care, said users have his “complete sympathy”.
He added: “But if they don’t qualify for services, they don’t qualify for services. We simply don’t have the funds to give everybody something.”
Personal budgets are assigned to those who are eligible. Just 10 per cent of Mind service-users are eligible as it offers a preventative service.