A COMMUNITY centre which provides a lifeline to residents in Stafford is facing a race against time as it edges closer to getting charitable status.
The Signpost Centre in Highfields is bidding to become a charity so it can get vital funding to continue its services.
The centre was previously funded with lottery cash but that ran out in March. Since then centre staff have working to get charitable status, which should open up more funding opportunities.
Without additional cash the site will have to make cutbacks, which will affect the services provided for the community.
Previous charity bids have failed but in the summer staff teamed up with the Newsletter and Newport Road PR firm Edson Evers to promote their services and urge professionals to help them in their bid.
The Signpost, which was set up five years ago in the former borough council neighbourhood office, houses computers and a cafe for people to meet and use the internet. Volunteers are on hand to give advice on a range of matters, including helping residents fill in forms, while the Citizens’ Advice Bureau also holds a session at the site.
The centre is also used for groups, such as mums and toddlers and teenagers and a food bank operates from there.
Linda Stone, manager of the
Signpost Centre, said: “The process of registering as a charity is not an easy one, and although we have helped countless people in the area it’s sadly a bit of a numbers game.
“We treat people as individuals and not numbers so it has been difficult to quantify the work we do. This time round, with professional advice, we are quietly confident that we will achieve the much-needed charitable status. Although we are concerned about our lottery funding running out we are excited to see the outcome of our application. We are all passionate about keeping the centre and the community it has created alive.
“The charitable status won’t just keep us going it will give us an opportunity to expand.”