A CHARITY that gives life-saving help to people with mental health problems across Ryedale has launched a major £20,000 fundraising campaign to save it from closure.

Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale (SWR) Mind has carried out its work in the community since 1962 and now has a team of 20 staff helped by dozens of volunteers who run nine different projects locally. These include a daytime telephone helpline, drop-in groups, one to one social support and help with finances and housing.

The charity, which urgently needs to raise £20,000 to stay afloat until August, also works alongside nursing staff in Scarborough Hospital’s A&E with people who are experiencing a mental health crisis as part of a joint project with the Cambridge Centre, which has an office in Malton, Although SWR Mind is affiliated to the national Mind charity, it has to raise its own funds and does not receive any of the money generated from donations made to Mind’s charity shops across the country.

Through its Save SWR Mind campaign, the charity has already raised £8,000 in donations from housing provider Yorkshire Coast Homes, Scarborough Mayoress’ Community Fund and its own Just Giving Page, justgiving.com/swrmind. But the charity is making a desperate appeal to residents, businesses and other organisations to help hit its £20,000 fundraising target by the end of next month.

Duncan Webster, chairman of SWR Mind’s board of trustees, said that if the money was not raised in time, SWR Mind would have to axe its projects and staff, leaving the people who use its services unsupported at a time when NHS-funded mental health services are also at breaking point due to cutbacks.

“It would be catastrophic for people who use our services and the local community if we were to close,” he added. “In these times of austerity more people are coming to SWR Mind in crisis, desperate for support, as other services are cut.”

Duncan said about 40,000 people – one in four people living in Scarborough Whitby and Ryedale – would experience mental health difficulties at some time in their lives.

Once the immediate funding crisis is resolved, SWR Mind is hoping to secure a total of £80,000 from donations, grant applications and money from other funding partners to secure the longer term future of the charity.

People can donate to the appeal online via SWR Mind’s website swrmind.org.uk or via justgiving.com/swrmind

They can also text SWRM22 with the amount they want to donate in pounds to 70070 or send a cheque made payable to Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind, to PO Box 304, Scarborough, YO11 3YJ.