News comment: Campaigners could save Portsmouth Mind from the brink

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It’s with much sadness we report today that a mental health charity faces closure unless it finds a fresh source of funding.

Portsmouth Mind has been making a difference to the lives of vulnerable adults in the city since the 1990s, and it will come as a blow to them and their families if their lifeline does face the axe.

It’s frustrating, especially when we hear the city council has already withdrawn its contribution to the tune of £300,000 a year.

But – whether people believe it’s right or not – we live in an age where austerity is top of the agenda and the government is cutting back more and more on the money it provides local authorities for services.

And that puts councils like that of Portsmouth in a difficult position as they are the ones who bear the brunt of criticism when hard-up organisations are forced to close their doors.

We must also bear in mind that the city has to find another £11m in savings next year – and that comes after £13.1m had to be shaved off the budget last year.

However, it’s the public that can make all the difference.

It was thanks to residents and community campaigners that the city’s Dial-a-Ride was saved last year and an alternative funding stream was found.

Outcry over potential cuts to the city’s women’s refuge resulted in city leaders protecting the service.

But it’s also the business community that should step up to the plate and see how they can help – in the same way it’s benefited the Spinnaker Tower and the city’s kite festival.

So there’s still hope yet that Portsmouth Mind could be pulled from the brink. It’s down to our leaders to listen and realise what matters most to local people.