A Moray mental health charity that offers adults a “safe haven” will close its doors within weeks after the local authority withdrew its funding.
The council announced plans to cut ties with the Moray Anchor Project this summer, but it had been expected to continue offering support to its vulnerable clientele until next spring.
However, yesterday it emerged that the group would not be able to survive until the end of the year.
It is understood that financial difficulties have piled up over recent months, leaving the organisation insolvent and unable to cover the cost of redundancy packages for staff.
Fears have been raised that its users could be left without the support they have become used to while the authority tries to arrange care for them.
Elgin City North councillor, Patsy Gowans, works closely with the charity and predicted some worrying times ahead for its patrons.
She added: “This is a very anxious time for all involved, but I’m sure all efforts are being made to help users and staff through this difficult period.”
Moray Labour’s health spokesman, Sean Morton, added: “Obviously this will come as a shock to many – not least those the staff and clients who work with the service.
“I will do all I can to help with preparing a contingency plan and to prepare a suitable alternative for the future.”
The project was established to help adults with mental illness in 1993, and has more than 80 users.
It encourages its members back into work by running drop-in sessions to boost their confidence, and operates a woodwork and arts training course.
In July, Moray Council confirmed that it would not be renewing its contract with the charity when it was due to come up for renewal in March.
Horizons regulars criticised the decision to axe the service, and management say they were “shocked and upset” by the move.
Lhanbryde man Jamie Wright has been visiting the project’s Horizons Resource Centre in Elgin for more than eight years.
The 49-year-old said: “It’s the only facility of its kind in Moray, and it is a tried and tested project.”
Moray Council says funding for mental health services is not being cut – but allocated differently.
A spokesman said that modernising provision would lead to improvements.