A HORNCASTLE charity has sent out a last desperate SOS after admitting it could be forced to fold because of dramatic cuts in funding.
Horncastle Hobbits, an after school kids based at the Community Primary School, caters for up to 30 youngsters.
Redundancy notices have already been given to three members of staff after organisers confirmed a cut in grants meant Hobbits was unlikely to open again at the start of the new school term in September.
The charity is hoping a benefactor will come forward at the eleventh hour and has called a special meeting at the Bull Hotel, Horncastle, on Friday to discuss the organisation’s plight.
Rob Jones, chairman of Hobbits, said: “It is a very worrying time and I feel desperately sorry for our members of staff because they have been absolutely brilliant.
“They understand what is happening but we have had to give them notice of redundancy because as things stand, it doesn’t look like we can carry on,
“I also feel sorry for parents who have come to rely on us but I don’t know what else we can do.
“Despite our best efforts, we have a shortfall which threatens the viability of the charity.
“Historically, we have been reliant upon grants to help keep afloat but in the current economic climate, we have been unable to secure sufficient third party funding to keep trading as a going concern.
“Unless we can secure significant funding, we will have to close Hobbits over the summer.
“It is frustrating as the quality of the setting has improved enormously over the last year under the excellent management of Penny Baxter and her team.
“Child numbers are up over the last year but simply not enough for our income to meet expenditure.”
Mr Jones stressed Hobbits had organised a number of major fund-raising activities in an attempt to stay open.
He added: “We have raised more than £2,000 by sky dives, doing the Three Peaks Challenge and holding monthly rock and roll nights but really we have reached the point of no return.
“East Lindsey District Council, Lincolnshire County Council and several other bodies which we relied on have had to make savings and we understand that. Things are very tough and we aren’t the only organisation suffering.
“We need to have the meeting to determine the future of Hobbits and I would encourage as much support as possible.
“You never know, a rich benefactor might still come forward but time is running out.”
l The meeting at the Bull Hotel will start at 7.30pm.
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Weather for Horncastle
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
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