Wiltshire Publications

£50,000 gift saves charity but service will not continue in Westbury

AN anonymous donation of £50,000 has saved the charity Wiltshire Mind, but the charity will only continue in other towns across the county, not including Westbury

Wiltshire Mind, a local independent mental health charity based in Melksham, was due to close in mid-November because of a lack of funding.

Now, with £50,000 secured thanks to an anonymous benefactor, the charity will be able to continue to operate in Trowbridge, Chippenham, Devizes and Malmesbury. However, the Westbury, Corsham, Royal Wootton Bassett and Melksham sessions will be suspended, as will the counselling service.

The £50,000 will be used to provide a streamlined service in the short term while further funding is sought.

Speaking on the decision to close the Westbury branch, general manager at Wiltshire Mind, Carolyn Long said, “We had to take a serious look at the area and tried to make sure that the services that are continuing will cover the area. Hopefully people who attended the Westbury group can get to Trowbridge or Devizes.

“Although it is very sad to have to stop these sessions, we hope that this is not a permanent decision. We started as a small charity and hope to grow again. If we were to continue with all the sessions running then the kindly donated £50,000 would last us just six months.

“We will look at securing more funding, and we still need sponsors to come forward.

“Since we announced our closure, there has been so much support from the local people.”

Geoff Brown, chair of trustees of Wiltshire Mind, said, “We are absolutely delighted with this out-of-the-blue donation, which will enable us to continue a service that is very much needed, and we want to take the opportunity to thank our donor publicly for their extraordinarily generous gift.

“Now that we know we can continue to operate beyond November, it is vital that we use this to kick-start fundraising and seek further donations to help the one in four people across Wiltshire who are living with a mental health problem.

“We want to start work again with Friends of Wiltshire Mind, our fund raising arm, and our supporters to raise regular funds and we will, of course, continue to apply for grants wherever possible. We also urgently need enthusiastic people who will help us to keep this vital service going.”

The charity is also looking to strengthen its trustee Board with people with legal experience and clinical experience of mental health. Anyone interested in joining the management board should contact Carolyn on 01225 706 532 or email info@wiltshiremind. co.uk