A MENTAL health charity which has saved thousands of lives in since it was opened more than 50 years ago is facing closure unless it can raise £20,000.

The MIND group for Whitby, Ryedale and Scarborough offers vital support to over a thousand people. But following changes in funding and grants ending the group will fold by the end of the summer if the money cannot be found.

Organisers say they need £20,000 by August and hope to raise a further £80,000 to secure the long term future of the charity.

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They operate nine different projects with 20 staff. A further two have already been made redundant, and there are dozens of volunteers. They provide a daytime helpline, drop in groups, one to one social support and help with finances and housing.

Some volunteers also work alongside staff at Scarborough Hospital Accident and Emergency with people facing a mental health crisis.

Although the group is affiliated to the national MIND they have to raise their own funds and do not receive money through charity shops.

Organiser Sophie Hall said: “We get money through the Big Lottery but we don’t get a lot through the local Clinical Commissioning Groups or councils and we need time to apply for new grants, that can all take months and we are running out of money for things like rent and telephones.

“The work that we do stops people reaching crisis point with their mental health and a number of people we have helped have been close to ending their own lives, Without our support and care, the outcome could have been very different.

“We fear that if our charity closes due to lack of funds, those people who reach such a desperate point in their lives in the future, may have nowhere else to turn."

The charity has set up a Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/swrmind and a social media campaign on Twitter is gathering pace.

About £8,000 has so far been donated. For more information go to swrmind.org.uk