Off the Record counselling centres to stay open after cash crisis eases at charity

(l-r) Cherkera Bates (17), client of Off The Record, Michell McKay, service delivery officer, Sandra Rowland, voluntary counsellor, Vicky Sawyer, outreach worker, Gary Mathew, student social work placement, John Simmonds, chairman and Tina Randall, admin officer. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (112008-7783)
(l-r) Cherkera Bates (17), client of Off The Record, Michell McKay, service delivery officer, Sandra Rowland, voluntary counsellor, Vicky Sawyer, outreach worker, Gary Mathew, student social work placement, John Simmonds, chairman and Tina Randall, admin officer. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (112008-7783)

Its time to make all those miles count...

4
Have your say

TWO vital counselling centres that were threatened with closure look likely to stay open.

Off The Record is looking forward to a brighter 2015 after it was teetering on the brink this year amid a huge funding crisis.

The 37-year-old charity, which provides counselling to young people, hit the rocks after funding cuts from Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council.

But a big community effort has enabled it to get back on an even keel.

It was thought one of its two offices in Fratton and Leigh Park would have to close, but charity officials now believe both can remain open.

Tina Randall, co-manager, said: ‘As this year draws to a close Off The Record is pleased to be in a stronger financial position due to several successful funding applications to 
trusts.

‘As well as this, local businesses and the community have continued to be very supportive, particularly the Rotary Club of Havant, Kenwood and Xyratex.

‘During the year we have run two successful recruitment trainings with 31 new volunteers joining the rota.

‘The service is continuing to help high numbers of young people in both Portsmouth and Havant.

‘Staff and trustees are also working vigorously to secure further funding for 2015.’

A total of £16,500 has been donated by trusts. This is in addition to a £10,000 funding boost by the Rotary Club of Havant and a £6,000 donation from Kenwood in Havant following a charity 
sale.

The charity received a £5,000 grant from Portsmouth City Council and £5,000 from Hampshire Constabulary.

There were dozens of smaller donations from businesses and individuals, as well as a £5,000 donation from a local business.

Mrs Randall added: ‘It looks like we are able to keep both offices open.’

Councillor Jackie Branson, who sits on the cabinet at Havant Borough Council and is a member of Havant Rotary Club, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted.

‘They were one of my charities when I was mayor and have always been a charity I support.

‘They do such a valuable job, certainly for the teenagers of the area. They provide a service that is hard to find elsewhere.’

But she said new funding was still needed to make sure the charity is sustainable in years to come.

She added: ‘It’s really good that they have solved the immediate crisis.’