City's Secret Millionaire champs face axe

A LIFELINE group supporting hundreds of disabled people in Glasgow is facing the axe.

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The lifeline group for people with disabilities is facing the axe
The lifeline group for people with disabilities is facing the axe

Staff and volunteers at the Disability Community, based in the north of the city, say they have reached crisis point because of a lack of cash.

The centre, in Possilpark, runs social clubs and dozens of classes, as well as after-school care for people with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

One of the clubs, Cook 'n' Care was an Evening Times' Community Champion last year hot in the Team category.

In 2008 the centre also featured on the Secret Millionaire TV series when property tycoon Nick Leslau spent time with service users and staff.

He donated £225,000 which was used to upgrade the building.

However, despite a 30-year history, the group may have to close down immediately.

The organisation has issued an urgent appeal in a bid to raise £50,000 to secure its future.

Madonna Maynes is the adult and youth coordinator and has worked at the centre for more than two years. The 32-year-old said: "It would leave a hole in the community but we don't think we can operate any longer.

"The staff know they won't be paid at the end of the month - there's no money there.

"We desperately need funding to keep going."

Workers said the funding gap became apparent during the last few weeks.

They have been kept afloat through the years by cash from organisations, including Glasgow City Council, Children in Need and the Big Lottery Fund, as well as donations from members of the public and private companies.

EVERY week the group supports up to 600 people across the city and delivers 26,000 home-made meals a year.

Melanie Fyfe, 38, who runs Cook 'n' Care, said the service was a "lifeline". She added: "We are at breaking point. We don't have enough funds to see us through to the end of this financial year.

"We don't have enough money coming into the centre to cover the expenses of running our services and we know our members can't afford for us to put club or meal prices up much higher.

"It looks like all our services will have to stop."

Among the facilities on offer are social clubs for different age groups, arts and crafts, literacy lessons, gardening, sports and a laundry service.

Ms Maynes said: "It provides people with physical or leaning disabilities the chance to socialise without feeling anxious about what company they are in.

"For example people with autism can find certain social situations stressful. Our clubs give people independence and a safe space."

Staff are urging people to donate anything they can to save the group.

They have sought financial advice and have a plan in place for the coming financial year, which starts in April.

Ms Maynes said: "We want to continue. We would ask everyone to donate whatever they can to help us."

rachel.loxton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Finance

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