Community has come together to help Off The Record

Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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As we get ready to head into a new year, there are plenty of small charities who are having a tough time of it.

Cuts in funding from local authorities and people generally having less spare money to donate to good causes has left some organisations on the brink.

Meanwhile, others have sadly been forced to fold.

But amid the doom and gloom, it is heartening to report today how one local charity threatened with closure is now looking ahead to 2015 with a genuine sense of optimism.

Managers at the Off The Record youth counselling service had feared that a funding crisis would mean one of its two offices in Fratton and Leigh Park would have to close.

After 37 years providing such a valuable service to young people in the Portsmouth and Havant area, the charity saw funding cut from both Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council and the future was looking decidedly bleak.

But Off The Record was certainly not going to give in without a fight.

It made applications to various trusts to help financially and also received valuable support from the local community.

The Rotary Club of Havant pitched in with £10,000, Havant firm Kenwood gave £6,000 and there were dozens of other donations from both businesses and individuals.

Hampshire Constabulary also demonstrated its appreciation of the charity’s work by pledging £5,000.

And the result?

Off The Record’s co-manager Tina Randall now says the charity is in a much stronger financial position and she believes that it can keep both its offices open into 2015.

That is great news.

But there is also an appreciation that staff and trustees need to keep working hard to secure further funding to help ensure the charity’s long-term future.

We certainly wish them well – and applaud all those who have helped Off The Record to be able to continue its valuable work.