Ripon family support project facing closure

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TIME is running out for Ripon’s family support project unless more donations are forthcoming from the public.

Funding for the project, run by Ripon Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and based at Community House on Allhallowgate, was cut earlier this year prompting the launch of a campaign in February to raise £16,000 to keep it going for another 12 months.

CVS chairman Stuart Martin, who is also a city and district councillor, said around £2,500 to £3,000 was raised at the start of the campaign but donations have since dried up and now the project could close down in less than three months’ time.

“There may be a perception the project is safe but it isn’t and we still need support,” said Coun Martin.

“The money that has come in has made a difference and we are in the process of applying for various bits of funding but it all takes time and depends on how successful we are with our applications.”

Coun Martin said unless the service raised more money quickly, it was likely it would have to close before September.

“I don’t want to be alarmist but that’s the way it is,” he added. “Until we can secure sustainable sources of funding, I am appealing to the public for anything they can give.”

The project, run by co-ordinator Liz Copas, offers emotional and practical help to both children and parents with all kinds of family issues. Many of its clients are unable to get support from other agencies so if the project was to close, they would receive no help at all.

Problems can often centre around addiction, mental health or chronic illness, while other cases may include children with behavioural difficulties or being bullied, family breakdown, and providing support over debt or educational issues.

Additionally, Mrs Copas helps co-ordinate a number of support groups – many run by volunteers – to help parents and children. They include one for parents of children with special needs, mothers needing extra support, and holiday activities for children.

She said: “It is very rewarding when you see a family turned around when it had looked to be a desperate situation but they get their lives back together.”

• Anyone wishing to support the project may send cheques payable to ‘Ripon CVS’ to: Family Support Project Appeal, Ripon CVS, Community House, Allhallowgate, Ripon, HG4 1LE. There are also collection boxes at Tiffin’s Cafe in Community House on Allhallowgate, the Mayor’s parlour in the town hall, and at the Ripon Gazette office on Kirkgate.