‘SAVAGE cuts’ are behind the sad demise of a charity that helps thousands of people a year.

Gay Advice Darlington and Durham (GADD) will close at the end of April after funding cuts left its services unsustainable.

As part of a £12.5m programme of swingeing budget cuts, Darlington Borough Council recently ceased funding to the organisation, which offers advice and support to more than 2,000 people a year.

Based on Duke Street, GADD was established in 1995 to support the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) communities and to promote equality and diversity.

One of the most prominent LGBT charities in the region, it offers counselling and mentoring services, delivers diversity training in schools and works with the police to tackle hate crime and the NHS to deliver HIV health screening.

As she announced GADD’s closure, chief executive Emma Roebuck said: “This is a deeply sad day for LGBTQI people and their allies here in Darlington, Durham and the Tees Valley.

“The board of trustees are heartbroken and angry at having to take this decision, however, we are unable to secure funding as we move into the forthcoming financial year.”

She later took to social media to say: “I do worry for those who have sought out support or will do so in the future.

“The demand for help by those in need has not waned or dwindled but the financial help to drive that support has dropped significantly to the point that the costs of the building and its services is unsustainable.”

Trustee Phillippa Scrafton blamed GADD’s demise on “an ideological austerity agenda imposed by the Tory government” to local authority funding for GADD’s demise, adding: “Savage cuts to local government funding have impacted on us terribly, which ultimately affects the most vulnerable.”