Harrogate District Mind responds to closure rumours

Pictured from left: Dee Jones, Tina Chamberlain, Quintin Lynn, Jackie Cottam, Sally Mawer, Nige Harrison, Jasmine Hatherly and Steve Lenighan. Picture: Gerard Binks.
Pictured from left: Dee Jones, Tina Chamberlain, Quintin Lynn, Jackie Cottam, Sally Mawer, Nige Harrison, Jasmine Hatherly and Steve Lenighan. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Harrogate District Mind has set the record straight after rumours that its Acorn Centre day service on Station Parade could be at risk of closure, following a 33 per cent reduction in funding from a major contract for the charity.

Their chair, Mike Gibbs, told the ‘Advertiser this week that the “centre is here to stay” and is “definitely not going to close.”

Based at the Acorn Centre, as well as delivering outreach services, Harrogate District Mind tendered for a contract from North Yorkshire County Council, but the sum allocated is less than the organisation had previously received from the council - it was £97,000, and is now £65,000.

The council has stressed that the decision was taken to spread money more evenly for mental health services across North Yorkshire, stating that it reflects a fairer distribution of funding across the whole of North Yorkshire, rather than a reduction in funding.

The council said 40 per cent of all their funding for mental health services was previously given to the Harrogate district, with “much less in Scarborough, and no funding available in Craven and Selby.”

Harrogate District Mind has confirmed that in January, following a restructure of the charity, there was concern amongst service users because the drop-in service hours had been reduced and the number of days the centre opened reduced from five days a week to three days, with another day providing an outreach service in the district.

But trustees reassured service users that they would be working hard to develop partnerships and explore alternative funding streams to offer a wider range of services.

Mr Gibbs said: “At the time, there were rumours flying around that the Acorn Centre would be closing completely and there was real concern amongst service users that they would have nowhere to go to get support. We know how much people value the support they receive from us.

“I have had people come up to me and say that it is like their family and that they would not be here if they did not have the centre to go to.

“Our message is that the centre is here to stay and is definitely not going to close and we are committed to ensuring that the organisation not only continues to provide services but looks to develop these services.”

NYCC’s Assistant Director of Care and Support, Dale Owens, said: “Our Stronger Communities team, which has increased funding for the voluntary sector, including mental health, has been working closely with Harrogate Mind during these changes and is supporting them in moving the organisation forward.”