Mansfield Welfare Rights may be forced to close after 24 years

Helen Chelsky and Pam Eaton, staff at Mansfield Welfare Rights.

Helen Chelsky and Pam Eaton, staff at Mansfield Welfare Rights.

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The winner of the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad pride awards may be forced to close if it does not receive more funding.

Mansfield Welfare Rights is a volunteer run organisationwhich helps with all types of benefit assistance.

But volunteers at the centre on Newgate Lane say it is running low on donations and barely has enough money to cover the building’s utility bills.

Helen Chelsky has worked at the centre as a volunteer for 18 years.

She said: “We are struggling for funding because we are all voluntary and get no help apart from what we receive in donations.

“The centre is extremely important in fighting for the cause.

“Since the Government has overhauled the welfare system taking many people off benefits there are lots of people that need our help to appeal and they rely on us.”

The centre was set up in 1989 by a welfare rights officer from Nottinghamshire County Council and Mansfield District Council with around 40 trained volunteers.

Now there are significantly less and funds are running dry.

Mrs Chelsky continued: “The whole benefits system can get very complicated.

“We try to help as best we can and if we are not able to offer assistance then we refer people on to other agencies who can.”

The centre has had windows smashed by vandals over the last year which has stretched its budget even more.

Coun Steve Garner, who represents the Racecourse ward for Mansfield District Council, said he is fully supportive of the centre.

“If the centre is to get in touch with me in writing I can try and give them some of my ward funding.

“They do good work and are vital for the area.

“Part of my ward is one of the poorest in the county.

“It is important we support community groups like Mansfield Welfare Rights.”

For more information on the centre and to get in touch contact the community point centre on 01623 421 375.