Charity helping vulnerable women closes

Sadness at charity closure

By Charlotte Fantelli

111 workers have been made redundant as much-loved women’s charity goes into administration.

Mental Health North East has expressed its condolences at the fate of Washington’s Bridge Project.

Founded in 1985, The Bridge was set up to provide support, education and training to local women. It was run by a small group of female volunteers and also provided free quality childcare, to enable mothers to access its services.

The Bridge grew into a large organization that was run ‘by women, for women’. With 111 staff and session workers and four centres across Washington and Durham, The Bridge offered more than training and courses, it offered hope and support for its members, many of whom will be left without access to training and other opportunities the charity provided.

The award winning charity also provided crucial health initiatives for local women, a significant number of whom have mental health difficulties.

Changes in funding and financial hard times took it’s toll on The Bridge.

Lyn Boyd, Chief Executive Officer of MHNE, understands the difficulties of 3rd sector  organisations face at this economic time of uncertainty, but expresses how loosing The Bridge was a shock and a sadness. Ms Boyd says ‘It comes as a shock to discover that Bridge, one of our largest, longest-lived, and most respected organisations should find itself in this predicament.

“It also illustrates, despite Government rhetoric, the current vulnerability of 3rd sector organisations which provide unique and essential community–based and niche services which are not likely to be replicated elsewhere.’

 “MHNE would like to commend all the workers and volunteers past and present who have enriched so many women’s lives. We hope that something might rise from the ashes which can continue the valuable work undertaken by Bridge.”

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