LEADERS at a cash-strapped community centre have said the charity is in “dire straits”, facing possible staff redundancies and service cuts.
Ingol and Tanterton Community Trust, Intact, relies on grants and fund-raising to make ends meet, but bosses say the service is vulnerable over the next six months.
It’s like living hand-to-mouth but trying to also build up money for a rainy dayDenise Hartley
The centre has undergone a major extension and refurbishment, and bosses issued a rallying cry for extra funding earlier this year.
But Intact’s chief executive, Denise Hartley, now says the charity is “really vulnerable”, and is calling on businesses and private companies to help out with a £20,000 deficit to be found this financial year.
Ms Hartley said the grant-funded building project cost more than expected, and there was not much left in reserves.
She said: “It’s like living hand-to-mouth but trying to also build up money for a rainy day.”
She said some of their key funders were facing budget cuts, and said: “It has a knock-on effect because a lot of that filters down to us.”
The charity had been relying on a grant towards their work club, but recently found out their application had been unsuccessful. Ms Hartley said: “We had applied for a grant which we didn’t get, but that’s due to the competitive nature.
“They’ve offered us feedback and we have to reapply next year, so that’s left us vulnerable again.”
She said the money the centre was given for social work students had been cut from £25,000 a year down to £12,000, and said the budget had been hit by about £40,000 altogether.
It costs £25,000 to run the centre and, while the team had managed to raise £5,000 through projects this year, £20,000 still needs to be found by the end of March.
Three members of staff, including Ms Hartley, have had their hours cut in a bid to make savings. She said: “We need to make sure we’ve got enough to survive the financial year, that we can pay the bills and the overheads and keep the building running.
“If we continue to pay staff as we’ve got, we won’t have money to pay for the building.
“Rather than making somebody redundant, we’ve spread the load.
“If we get funding in January I’ll be able to reverse that decision but if we don’t get that, we’re still really vulnerable.
“If we don’t get the funding, the next step would be to make somebody redundant, but then in turn we lose all the experience and relationships the staff have built up with the service users.
“We don’t want to lose anybody.”
Ms Hartley said lottery funding was also due to run out in January, and the organisation has made another application.
She said: “If we don’t get that, that’s bad news.
“People think we’re okay and we’re not.
“There’s a misconception that we’ve got this fantastic new building so we must have lots of money.”
People can help by texting INTA15 followed by the amount to 70070, donating money or supporting events.
Intact will be hosting a Christmas fair on Wednesday from 3pm and 5pm, and an auction of promises on the same day from 6pm to 7pm.