Gosport charity is saved from closure by Greggs

A CHARITY that helps people facing all sorts of issues was on the brink of extinction.

Tuesday, 7th May 2019, 2:45 pm
Chat founder Jeanette Perry, centre right, with Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, middle, mayor of Gosport Diane Furlong, centre left, as well as volunteers and Greggs staff. Picture: Peter Maguire

Chat, a Gosport-based charity that works with people across the community, was due to close at the end of this month due to a lack of funding.

The group, founded by 61-year-old Jeanette Perry two years ago, supports people who need help with benefits, mental health, parenting, loneliness and more.

Now, thanks to a grant of £1,342 by the Greggs Foundation, Chat will be continuing for the foreseeable future.

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Jeanette says she and her team of volunteers are ‘delighted’ that their work – which has proved to be a lifeline for many in the town – won’t be coming to an end.

She said: ‘Our funding for the group was starting to run out and we had nothing in place to help keep us going.

‘We weren’t sure we could even make it to the end of this month, so would have certainly closed in the next few weeks.

‘Because we were so close to shutting down, everybody is absolutely delighted that we will be able to continue.’

As well as providing a service to those who need a helping hand, Chat also works in the community, selling their craft works at local fairs and hosting regular community litterpicks.

This, Jeanette says, helps people who might otherwise feel lonely to become a part of the wider Gosport community.

She said: ‘We have weekly craft sessions which are always well-attended, as well as litterpicks for people to take part in and meetings for people to discuss the problems they’re facing in their lives.

‘Getting people together for a couple of hours, even if it’s just to have a natter with one another, can be a major boost to people’s mental health – and connects people with others who live nearby.

‘We’ll help with whatever we can; we’ve dealt with citizenship issues, tribunals, debt problems – you name it, we’ve done it.’

At the Greggs in Gosport High Street last Friday, staff from the cafe presented Jeanette with the cheque.

She says that the funding has taken an enormous pressure off her and the other volunteers – but the group will look for more long-term funding moving forward.