A CRUCIAL charity which is a lifeline to many has announced its shock closure at the end of next month.

The top man at Mind in West Cumbria broke the news yesterday, saying it was with “great sadness” that the trustees were announcing the service will cease to exist from the end of September.

It follows the news last month that former long-serving chairman Dr Brian Campbell was stepping down from the mental health charity, after being rushed to hospital.

Current chairman Rod Earl said: “We are no longer able to operate due to a number of factors including the changing climate for the voluntary sector. This means we are not able to provide services to the standards we’d like with the resource we have available.

“We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone affected, particularly our service users, volunteers and members of staff, who are at the heart of everything we do.”

The trustees said that if there was any remaining funds following the closure, they would be spent in the local area on mental health support.

“We are supporting our staff and volunteers directly affected by the closure,” added Mr Earl.

“We are also working hard to try and make sure our clients aren’t left without the services they need but are signposted to alternatives wherever possible and appropriate.

“In the longer term, we are working with other local Minds in the region to put in place a sustainable plan for providing mental health services across Cumbria.”

The charity, based in Workington Town Hall, supports Copeland and Allerdale residents.

It is a lifeline to many people who are feeling, or have been affected, by suicide.

It offers family support, one-to-one counselling, a garden project at community allotment based at Flimby and drop-in sessions.

It is heavily supported by members of the community who have raised thousands of pounds over the years.

Mr Earl thanked everyone involved in projects, past and present.

“The current projects, supported by our incredible staff and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to support our vulnerable clients at our drop-ins across the region, family project, counselling services and gardening project,” he added.

“We are also incredibly grateful to the local stakeholders, too many to list, for their generous donations to support our work and to the many individuals who have raised funds and helped to sustain our work.”

Mr Earl added that if anyone was feeling suicidal, and didn’t feel they could keep themselves safe, to seek ‘immediate help’.

“Go to any hospital A&E department, or call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you can’t get there yourself,” he said.

“If you are worried about a loved one, watch out for warning signs and stay with them if you think they may take their own life.”

Dr Campbell made the difficult decision to step down from the role in July following his third emergency admission to hospital due to an ongoing health condition.

At the time he said: “I would like to express my admiration and thanks to the people of West Cumbria for their truly marvellous support for Mind. Both individuals and groups have shown such wit and imagination and, above all, good will and encouragement, towards our work by their wonderfully generous support.”

Following the closure of Mind West Cumbria at the end of September, people can contact the Samaritans.

They provide free, confidential, 24-hour phone support, by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org. People don’t have to be experiencing suicidal feelings to call them.

Anyone concerned about the closure of Mind West Cumbria can get in touch with Mr Earl by emailing admin@mindinwestcumbria.org.uk