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Beachy Head chaplains laid off in funding struggle
A LIFE-saving charity working at a notorious suicide spot has been forced to make staff redundant.
But the charity, which comes to the rescue of one person every day on average, has said redundancies will not mean the charity closes or reduces its cover.
Chaplaincy team director Mark Pybus said that they had “regrettably” made the redundancies after failing to secure “sufficient long term monthly donations”.
Mr Pybus said that the Christian charity is now looking at new ways of operating, which would see an increased reliance on volunteers and less on the small number of full-time employees.
The charity is also looking to attract more monthly donors instead of relying on one-off donations.
A petition calling for the charity to be saved has already attracted more than 700 signatures while Wealden MP Charles Hendry has penned his concerns in a letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
In May The Argus reported The Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team urgently needed £15,000 by the end of June and £50,000 over the next three months to continue.
Mr Pybus has now told supporters that the charity is not under threat of closure and had survived its financial emergency thanks to the success of its funding appeal.
The service, which launched more than a decade ago, needs £200,000 a year to operate.
Mr Pybus said he was saddened to have to lose the members of staff and said it would be a “real challenge” for the remaining staff and volunteers to maintain the cover.
He told The Argus: “Most of our donors are one-offs which isn’t very secure.
“Our problem is we need to increase the number of people who give as little as £5 or £10 a month to make sure we don’t go back to where we just came from.
“Everybody loves the work that we do but in all honesty we people to value us rather than love us.
“But that is a difficult thing to do, churches and other organisations will tell you the last place to touch people and make a change is often the pocket.”
To sign the petition visit tinyurl.com/jwqwmzt.
To volunteer as a cliff edge volunteer, to donote or fundraise, visit www.bhct.org.uk