‘It wasn’t them’ - March-based befriending scheme closes as charity Eddies loses out on lottery cash

Artworks at Eddies is continuing to run

Artworks at Eddies is continuing to run - Credit: Archant

Up to 50 people with learning disabilities are to miss out on a befriending scheme after a March charity announced it was having to close it down.

Eddies has had to close down its befriening scheme

Eddies has had to close down its befriening scheme - Credit: Archant

The move by Eddie’s in High Street, which offers support for people with learning disabilities, took the decision after failing to secure Big Lottery funding for the project which has been running since 2000.

Trustee Margaret Oatey said: “Sadly as a result of an unsuccessful application to the Big Lottery, Eddies has had to make a very difficult decision to close down the adult befriending scheme and activities group in Fenland.

“In addition to this two members of staff have been made redundant from February 5. One has been re-employed in a new post, but our office premises at 87 High Street, March has closed.”

Mrs Oatey said the application was for funding for three years and it was a real disappointment to be turned down as the scheme had reached the second round of the process.

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“We are hoping to get some feedback on why we were unsuccessful, which could help us make a fresh application. We really hope to be able to relaunch the scheme sometime in the future.

“In the meantime the artworks project is still running and is now on three days a week. That is unaffected as clients can get individual funding for the service as it is considered care,” explained Mrs Oatey.

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She also said that local businesses and organisations which have provided funding for the charity have been individually approached .

“We have contacted them all individually to assure them that monies raised locally have funded the activities group in Fenland and there is no outstanding surplus. We didn’t want them to think their money had been gobbled up on other things,” said Mrs Oatey, adding: “We also thanked them for their support which has always been greatly appreciated.

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