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Plea to come together to support the charity

By Uttoxeter Post and Times  |  Posted: July 26, 2014

'GET INVOLVED' . . . Jon Wheale is urging residents to support Art and Soul.

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A LABOUR hopeful is encouraging townsfolk to come together and show their support for a charity which is at risk of being forced to close its doors.

Jon Wheale, Labour's parliamentary candidate, is hoping that funding can be found to save the Art and Soul Friendship Group, which provides help and support for people with mental health issues, after it was revealed there was a 'strong possibility' it could close due to a lack of funding.

The announcement came only weeks after Rakemark Respite, a holiday club for children with special needs and disabilities, revealed it was also closing due to funding and Rethink, which runs Bradley Court, had its cash cut from the Supporting People programme.

Mr Wheale told the Post and Times: "Having visited Art and Soul in Uttoxeter and spent time with various people from across East Staffordshire who use the facilities and rely on the friendship that the group provides, I sincerely hope that funding can be found.

"I would encourage everyone to come together to support Art and Soul."

Since first starting up, the charity has been relying on a variety of smaller grants which have been 'gratefully received' but no long-term funding has been achieved.

Senior project worker Vikki Baker said: "There is work going on behind the scenes regarding funding by people and organisations who believe in and value the charity and what it stands for, but without bigger grants being issued the charity cannot continue running on a shoestring. We have low overheads because we use the skills and knowledge that our members have to run workshops and rely heavily on volunteers to provide services such as Shiatsu, silk painting and the garden project, to name a few.

"We have had a number of students gain experience from our project, from sixth form, Prince's Trust, college and university placements.

"We have a lot of support in the community and are very grateful to all those who have been kind and caring enough to make donations of any kind in the past."

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