Leigh Park counselling charity for young people Off the Record warns of risk to services without investment - as demand rises
A LEIGH Park charity has warned that without investment its services could be at risk as councillors were welcomed to its annual general meeting.
Staff and volunteers from Off The Record greeted Cllr Rosy Raines, mayor of Havant, as well as key charitable donors, Havant MP Alan Mak, and Hampshire police and crime commissioner Donna Jones.
Off The Record gives free-at-point-of-access counselling in south-east Hampshire.
In their last financial year, Off The Record had 478 active service users, and in just seven months into the current year, the team has already seen 413 young people.
The service is delivered by the equivalent of six full-time employees and under 40 volunteers.
The first AGM under the leadership of Kate Glasby, the meeting at St John’s Church in Rowland’s Castle saw the CEO warn that without investment, the charity is at risk.
Kate said: ‘We’re a lean service doing a huge amount of work but gone are the days where we can rely on topping up statutory income with cheques and fundraisers.
‘Last year we received just over 11 per cent of what it costs to run a free-at-point-of-access counselling service for 11 to 25-year-olds in south-east Hampshire.’
A combination of shrinking statutory services, limitations on budgets, increased volume and complexity of demand from young people, and a competitive funding landscape has resulted in a funding shortfall.
Kate added: ‘Having greater levels of statutory support will free time spent fundraising, allowing us to focus on delivering services to young people who are struggling with an increasing volume and complexity of emotional health issues.’