One of Northern England’s longest running LGBT+ charities, aimed at tackling homophobia and giving advice on LGBT sexual and mental health issues is set to close.© chrisbradshaw Depositphotos
Gay Advice Darlington/Durham is to close its doors in late April for the last time after deep and “savage” funding cuts from the current Conservative government. From 1997 the charity has been funded by the County Durham and Darlington Health Authority for its work in South County Durham and Darlington Borough Council to support those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS in Darlington.
The charity’s chief officer, Emma Roebuck wrote on her LinkedIn profile,
“The organisation I have invested 18 years of my life in GADD is coming to an end. In April we will close the doors for the last time and I feel adrift in mixed emotions most of which are negative and useless.
“…The current situation with austerity and cuts to organisations such as GADD have made it impracticable to function without serious mission drift in the name of sustainability”.
According to Emma, the charity’s popularity has not dwindled and demand for its services is as high as it has ever been.
“I do worry for those who have sought out support or will do in the future. LGBT+ people in the area now have no voice or safe place to call their own. The demand for help by those in need has not waned or dwindled but the financial help to drive that support has dropped significantly to the point the costs of the building and its services is unsustainable’.
Board of Trustee member Phillippa Scrafton said,
‘GADD has operated for several years facing unrelenting financial challenges from within
“GADD has operated for several years facing unrelenting financial challenges from within an economic landscape of a wholly ‘ideological’ austerity agenda imposed by this Tory Government.”
“Savage cuts to local government funding have impacted on us terribly which ultimately affects the most vulnerable. In my opinion the situation we face is firmly at the feet of this out of touch Government and their ‘cuts’ agenda!”
MP for Darlington, Jenny Chapman told THEGAYUK,
“It’s terrible news. Sad that such a long standing important charity is closing. Question now is, what do we do next?”
yes, it's terrible news. Sad that such a long standing important charity is closing. Question now is, what do we do next?
— Jenny Chapman (@JennyChapman) April 1, 2017
THEGAYUK reached out to the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust for comment.