The manager of a group that offers support to stroke victims has vowed to keep fighting for the funds that will secure the group’s future.
The Phoenix Stroke Club, based at the Forest School in Horsham, has received funding from West Sussex County Council for more than ten years - but the backing has recently come to an end.
Manager Jackie Mullin, one of two employed members of staff funded mostly by grants and donations, has accused the county council of ‘short-term thinking’.
However, the group’s chairman Nigel Haverson said the club’s immediate future was secure thanks to healthy financial reserves.
Jackie said: “We don’t know what is going to happen and that is a worry, but we are determined - we have been going for 25 years and we are not going to let this close us down.
“We have to do something to get more money in. Anything we can do to keep the place going, we will do.
“West Sussex County Council are absolutely crazy to pull away from us, it is short-term thinking.”
The stroke club offers care and support for dozens of people who have suffered strokes, first offering speech therapy classes before introducing them into groups.
The staff are assisted four days a week by a large, dedicated team of volunteers.
Jackie said: “A lot of people base their lives around coming here - our longest attending member has been coming here for 18 years. They consider us as part of their family.
“There isn’t another place like this - there isn’t anywhere that offers the same kind of stimulation that we do.”
Plans to expand into a similar facility in the Crawley area have been scrapped due to the loss of county council funding.
Chairman Nigel Haverson said: “That core funding is probably in the region of 40 per cent of our annual income. We were given notice last year it was coming to an end.
“We carry reserves that will keep us going for about 18 months, and we need to secure the funding in that time.
“Jackie is submitting applications for trust funds but that is not something that happens over night. I would think if we have not secured funding by the end of this year we would start to be concerned.”
A spokesperson for West Sussex County Council said: “It was regrettable that the Phoenix Stroke Club were unsuccessful in their bid for further funding to support carers in Horsham.
“Other charities however will be providing support to carers in the area and we expect carer short break services to increase over the course of the next few years.
“Support has been offered to the Phoenix Club by West Sussex County Council officers with regard to assisting them in their ability to respond to future tender processes.”