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HELP crisis fundraising campaign – our progress
When our crisis campaign started, we had no idea what to expect. While we had absolute confidence in the value of South Lakeland Mind for the community, we also knew that the situation was extremely difficult – even if we set out the dangerous financial position the charity found itself in, there was no easy solution to prevent closure.

That dangerous financial position – still, sadly, a crisis – remains.

Nevertheless, the response from the public and organisations in a position to help has been truly amazing, and confidence is building that the charity can survive. Public donations have ranged from a few pounds to £5000, and these, together with offers of help and comments about the impact the charity makes, show just how much people care.

These donations have now reached £14,590.

Jonathan Ingram, chief officer, said:

‘The response from this community has been both incredible and truly humbling. Getting this far, so quickly, is beyond what we dared to hope. My heartfelt thanks go out to all those who have supported us so far in whatever way they have been able – this collective effort will change lives.

‘So many people have experience of mental illness, whether themselves or among family and friends, and they have told us the difference South Lakeland Mind has made for them. And many other people have stepped up, recognising what the charity does here in South Lakes, and can continue to do in 2015.

He went on to say:

We do have to keep asking the public for donations: it is absolutely the right thing to do for the people we support. But now people can donate in the sure knowledge that they are helping a charity which can survive not just beyond Christmas, but – with hard work – into the future.

‘We have to build that coalition of people who believe in what we do – not just the public, but trust funds and statutory bodies – who can help us build that total, giving enough time to develop our strategy and longer-term, sustainable financial support. Getting that to a net figure of £60,000*, which is about the annual turnover of the charity at present, would be a massive step forward to achieving that aim.

We have also had support from South Lakes Housing, The David Snowdon Trust, and The John Cutforth Charitable Trust. We are so grateful that they have come forward. We are also in positive, ongoing discussions with other possible funders. That’s what I mean when I say building a coalition of support, and it’s about careful, steady progress. People need to see that we have the right plans in place.

‘Together, these offers have taken the charity to a position where imminent closure, before Christmas, will not happen. Progress so far means we are just over half way to that £60,000 target, a huge achievement in such a short time.

‘So, what now?

It’s about no let up in our efforts. I opened an envelope with a cheque for £25 this morning: someone had cared enough to spare that for the cause. There’s a coffee morning happening toorrow, again people working hard on the charity’s behalf. And we are starting to look forward to our music fundraiser on 6 December.

‘There are also all those other areas where people can help. We need people who have time that they can give, especially focusing on governance and business/finance support – people interested in joining our board of trustees, people who are willing to keep influencing and fundraising in 2015, acting as a group on the charity’s behalf, other skills as well. Just call if you’d like to find out more.’

[*Less ongoing costs since the campaign started, i.e providing our core services: information and signposting, counselling, and befriending and drop-ins. So, looking at the net progress we have made.]

Six thoughts to remind what we need people to do:

1. Take action - We are asking people to use their own ideas, and then tell us what they’re doing so we can publicise what’s happening.

2. Give the charity a donation, and consider ongoing support Even a small amount does make a difference. It adds up, and it shows that the community cares. Ongoing support by direct debit (easy to set up at www.justgiving.com/southlakelandmind) helps us plan:

Text Giving - Text MIND05£amount to 70070 (e.g. MIND05£10)

Or cheques to: South Lakeland Mind, Stricklandgate House, 92 Stricklandgate, Kendal LA9 4PU

3. Do a fundraising event or challenge - Talk to us about it and we will publicise what you’re doing. We’re also developing a fundraising group. Why not join us and help make a difference with other people? Remember, our next big event will be the Friends of South Lakeland Mind fundraising music event on 6 December:

4. Pass the word on - To family, friends, people you know, people you think should know. Talk, Tweet, Facebook, letter, email... whatever works for you.

5. Keep telling us what South Lakeland Mind means to you - This is invaluable for our work and showing funders the value of what we do. Just a sentence is all it takes.

6. Step forward and volunteer your time - Especially focusing on governance and business/finance support – people interested in joining our board of trustees, people who are willing to keep influencing and fundraising in 2015, other areas as well.

Remember, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in 2015. And we provide help, right here in our community, with an amazing 25 volunteers for every member of staff.

On behalf of the trustees, staff, volunteers and all those who we work alongside, I hope that you will keep taking our appeal for HELP for this outstanding local charity far and wide.

Find out more - If you would like to find out more about our HELP campaign, or get involved, please get in touch with us on 01539 740591 (info@slmind.org), or have a look at our website www.slmind.org for the latest updates. To contact the Chief Officer, call 01539 740591 (jingram@slmind.org)