A CHARITY that helps new mums on issues from anxiety to finances faces possible closure as a council waits to learn how much money it will receive from the UK Government's Shared Prosperity fund.

The Blossom & Bloom group in Rhyal helps mums and children, living in homeless accommodation, through its Community Outreach Project.

But its future is in doubt as Denbighshire County Council, which is able to provide some funding so a limited number of services can continue until December, is unable to offer longer term assurances.

But mum's who attend the groups regular meetings at at coworking space in Rhyl, fear the loss off assistance with issues such as wellbeing, and budgeting.  

Mum Janine said the group was the first support she had, having been on her own for four months after her son Tom was born.

“I contacted the charity to say I was a single mum, and I was struggling to get support I needed for health visitors and just the social side,” she said. 

“Up to that point, my little boy was four months old, and I’d had no contact with anybody.  

“If the charity was to close, it means their support would be gone. There is nowhere else in this area that gives that kind of support that Vicky (charity founder) and the team give to the girls. It’s vitally needed. We need that support, the social side of it, the help with finance, health, anything like that – it is desperately needed. 

“Having a friendly face to go to keeps your spirits up. If they go, so many of us have nobody to turn to.” 

Sophie, who has a little girl called Willow, agreed.  

“It would be devastating,” she said.  

“I’m in homeless accommodation. I’m getting back on track. A lot of us haven’t got family members or friends to talk to, and the charity is always there literally 24/7. I’ve called Vicky at 11 pm at night, and she has been there for me. 

“I was going to be put into a hostel until I got in touch with Blossom and Bloom, and they gave me the help I needed.” 

Mum Shania Whitmore, 21, has a 19-month-old daughter.  

“The charity means a lot to me because I was kicked out of my home,” she said. 

“I had nowhere to live, and Blossom and Bloom gave me a place to get on my feet and to find the ropes to living, and from there, I just blossomed and learned how to live. 

“I would be lost without the charity. I don’t know how I would find my feet and go about life.” 

Mum Christine Atkinson, 33, has a one-year-old girl. 

“The charity means a lot. I’ve suffered with depression and with my mental health,” she said. 

“My husband went to prison, and I didn’t know what to do. I was in a lot of debt, and they gave me a lot of financial help.” 

Mum Kerry Doyle, 37, has a nine-month-old daughter. 

“When I first had my daughter Ruby, I suffered with really bad anxiety, and once I got involved with the charity, they began helping me, accessing children’s groups, and my confidence built up from there. 

“If we were to lose the charity, it would set me back quite a lot.” 

The charity offers daily drop-in support but relied on a £100,000 Community Renewal Fund application for an eight-month project, which finishes on August 31.   

The charity claims they were given assurances that ‘run-on’ funding would provide renewed financial support once the funding had ended in the shape of a Shared Prosperity Fund. 

This was part of the UK Government’s Levelling-Up fund scheme managed by Denbighshire County Council.   

But around six weeks ago, the charity claims Denbighshire told them the ‘goal posts had moved’ and that the council would not fund external projects.  

Denbighshire then submitted its own investment plan to UK Government, detailing plans for over £25m of Levelling-up Funds, which didn’t include external projects in year one.   

Charity founder Vicky Welsman-Millard said: “Twenty-one of our mums still need ongoing support, and if our service ends, they are going to be going backward in their lives without our support. They’re not ready for it to end at the moment.” 

Louise Armstrong is a tenancy move-on coordinator with the charity.  

She said: “So many things have had an impact on the girls’ lives, their mental health, wellbeing, financial support, and we feel like we’ve got to a point where we’ve helped them so much, but there is still so much that needs to be done. Our worry is when that ends, where do they go for that quality support?” 

Laura Taylor is a well-being support officer with the charity and added: “We have so many mums that are still in need for what we do. If we were to end, it would have a massive impact not just on the girls we have now, but the girls in the future as well.” 

Joanne Garratt is a project manager with the charity and added: “It is going to be tragic. There are so many needy mums and babies out there.” 

A spokesman for Denbighshire County Council said it had extended funding for some of the charity’s functions until December; however, this would not mean all the charity’s outreach services would be funded. 

“We do fully understand the concerns raised over the funding issue by the mums and want to reassure them that we are in discussion with the charity’s representative to advise and support with this matter,” he said. 

“The council has not withdrawn funding from the charity; on the contrary, it has been possible for the authority to extend the CRF funding to the end of December.  

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“The council has reminded the charity that Denbighshire, like other local authorities across the UK, are currently waiting for feedback from the UK Government on the North Wales Regional Investment Plan for the Shared Prosperity Fund which was submitted earlier this month. We have also made it clear that no funds have been held back or spent elsewhere by the council, as no money is yet available. 

“We are aware of the support this charity provides to mums and their babies. The council has offered signposting for alternative sources of funding to maintain the charity’s future, and we will continue to discuss these with the charity moving forward.”

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