Portsmouth charity sends out SOS plea so it can continue to help youngsters

A CHARITY that helps inspire young people living in deprived areas of Portsmouth says it faces closure unless it receives an urgent cash injection.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 4:49 pm
South East Hampshire Community Outlook runs courses for disadvantaged youngsters and it is under threat of closure as funding is due to run out Madelene 11, HArvey 11 and Stephen 10 with their certificates for completing the climb. Picture: Habibur Rahman

SEHCO - short for South East Hampshire Community Outlook - is a small charity based in Portsmouth.

It provides activities for young people living in social housing in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire.

As well as hosting activities, such as climbing and sports, it runs three community centres  - Broadlaw Community Centre in Fareham, St Mary’s Community Room in Milton and Spithead Resource Centre in Southsea - each of which is available for hire and used by a wide range of groups.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Project manager, Gary Clark Picture: Habibur Rahman

The charity has previously benefited from Lottery money, but this is due to end in March 2020.

To continue for another year, it needs to secure between £60,000 to £80,000.

Gary Clark, project and development manager at the charity, said: ‘We have been putting in new funding bids but it is getting crucial now that we secure funding.

‘We would like, and need, people and businesses to buy into it.

Gary Clark with some of the parents and children that he teaches at the Harbour School Climbing Wall, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘We need to find a way of keeping it going.

‘Our courses and centres help so many people. It is proven that our scheme works and I would hate to lose it.

‘It would be a huge loss for the community.’

One of the people who has recently been helped by the charity is Teigan Lewis.

She completed a 12-week climbing course called Reaching New Heights along with seven other young people at the end of last year. The course was designed to build the teenagers’ confidence.

She said: ‘Throughout my time with Reaching New Heights climbing group I found that my confidence has grown a lot and it will continue to grow now that I have new skills to take forward with me. I enjoyed making new friends and I am very grateful for being given the opportunity to be a part of this experience.’

SEHCO was set up 10 years ago and currently has a small number of paid employees and a group of active and committed volunteers.

In the past it has secured funding from First Wessex, Lloyds TSB, The Big Lottery, Portsmouth City Council, Fareham Borough Council and others.

Gethin Jones, charity trustee, said it was vital for charities like SEHCO to carry on.

He said: ‘It all links to austerity cuts, and cuts to services, it is not so easy for small charities like SEHCO to get the funding they need anymore.

‘But it is important for them to continue and for them to receive support.

‘Particularly with SEHCO, not every young person is going to be able to thrive academically, so it is important that everybody gets the chance to improve their skills and be set up for the future.

‘SEHCO is working with families who are struggling and wouldn’t usually get the same chances, so it needs our support even more.’

To get involved go to sehco.org.uk or call (023) 9273 9485.