A SHORTFALL in funding has resulted in the loss of two popular clubs for people with mental health problems, a charity has claimed.

Dorset Mind has already closed its Monday breakfast club at the Turbary Centre in Bournemouth and will end its Friday lunch club, which was also based at the Turbary Centre, at the end of the month.

The charity claims it has struggled with a shortfall in funding for several years and the Turbary-based groups had been particularly badly affected.

However, Bournemouth council said it had not reduced the funding it offered and had tried to help the charity continue its Friday club. 

Alan Roberts, who has attended both clubs, said: “My concern is for the service users who will have nowhere to go.

“For some, it is the highlight of their week. Some service users do not have the confidence to travel on a bus let alone go to a different venue, in the unlikely event that one will be found.”

Stephen Dennison, chair of Dorset Mind, said: “In light of an extensive shortfall in the amount of money offered to us by Bournemouth Borough Council we at Dorset Mind have taken the difficult decision to end the Friday Lunch Club at Turbary Park from March 28.

“We’ve also stopped running with immediate effect the Mind breakfast club, which is separately funded by way of a donation by Dorset Healthcare.

“We’re very much aware of our service users who will be affected by our decision but we will be working with them and the community mental health team at Turbary Park to ensure that we’re open to supporting them going forward. As an organisation we’re also aware of the wider changes in what is considered best practice for supporting people with mental health difficulties and the new contract offered to us for Turbary Park didn’t reflect these necessary changes.”

He said anyone concerned about the changes could contact him on 01202 392910 or email contact@dorsetmind .org.uk

Ivor Cawthorn, Strategic Commissioning Manager at Bournemouth Borough Council, said:

“Providing a local service for local people with mental health problems is of great importance to us. Following discussions with Dorset Mind, we had offered them an extension to continue delivering the Turbury Park Friday service till 31 March 2015 at the same funding level the service has been delivered on for past few years, with the option to reduce the opening times to make the services cost effective for the provider.

"Unfortunately Dorset Mind didn’t feel they could continue running the service unless they were given more funding, which is when they took the decision to withdraw, giving notice for the service to end on 28 March 2014.

"We will be working closely with Bournemouth Community Mental Health team to ensure that service users who currently use the service have the opportunity to find other suitable day opportunities in the area with as little disruption as possible to the users.”