A Staffordshire charity says it is concerned about the impact on mental health services in the county, after being told its funding is being withdrawn.
It costs £170,000 year to run North Staffs Voice for Mental Health, which brings together people who use mental health services to improve the care they receive, by influencing how they are planned and delivered.
After losing funding from Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council in recent years, the charity has now been told it will no longer receive a £150,000 grant from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs.
The cash will be withdrawn from 30th September, meaning unless it finds a new source of income it could close by Christmas - leaving 8 members of staff without a job.
The news follows a review by the CCGs into all of its voluntary sector contracts.
A spokesperson for commissioners said: "As across the whole of the NHS, there are finite resources and rising demand and that means some very difficult decisions have to be made about where we invest the limited funds available to us to spend on health services.
"While North Staffs Voice provides information and advice, which is clearly highly valued, it does not provide direct care and the CCGs have reluctantly concluded that the current grant does not support our priorities sufficiently and will not be renewed.
"All organisations receiving grants for a fixed term must be aware there can never be a guarantee funding will be provided beyond that period."
The charity is now looking at alternative sources of funding, and has made several application for grants from bodies such as the National Lottery.
It is also asking for donations from its 1,300 members, as well as local people and businesses.
A local care home has also approached the charity about providing mental health awareness training to their staff, which they hope can be a service they provide in the future to companies across the county at a cost, in order to keep their other services going.
People with Mental Health problems may lose their Voice.
North Staffs Users Group formed as a charity in 1992, it was set up to help some of the most vulnerable people in the locality. The aim of the group is to improve mental health services in North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. Last year the membership voted to change the name to
Now the future of the group is under threat as current funding is being withdrawn at the end of September. Carole Stone, CEO, states 'We are the voice for people with mental health problems in North Staffordshire, we have a membership of over 1300 and for 25 years we have worked on behalf of people who access mental health services to try to ensure that mental health services are timely, equitable, responsive and effective'.
North Staffs and Stoke Clinical Commissioning Groups have been reviewing all of their voluntary sector contracts and we have now been informed that our service 'was assessed as not meeting strategic objectives and the grant will cease from 30th September 2017.' We are currently working hard to find alternative sources of funding but we would also like to seek support from the local community. 'You never know when mental health problems may affect you - if they do, we are here to make sure that you are able to find the most appropriate service and ensure that it is of good quality' says Carole Stone.
If you would like more information, or to show your support for this unique and vital service through offering a donation, no matter how big or small, please contact North Staffs Voice for Mental Health on 01782 683043 or email firstname.lastname@example.org