Thursday, April 18, 2024

Community advocacy service Batias set to close because of lack of funding

AN award-winning Thurrock-based community advocacy service has announced it is poised to close through lack of funding.

BATIAS, set up in 1992, provides advocacy to people with learning disabilities and also supports young people and adults with physical and sensory impairments, complex needs and behaviours that challenge.

The announcement comes almost year to after the service was celebrating being honoured for its community contribution.

The news was broken by BATIAS operations manager Erika McCusker who said the organisation’s trustees have made the ‘sad and difficult decision’ to close due to a lack of finances and insufficient secured funding for the next financial year.

The organisation, an essential service for people who need support to express their needs and have increased choice and control in their lives, will be closing on Sunday, 31 March unless additional funds can be secured before that date.

Ms McCukser said: “As an organisation with over 30 years’ experience and expertise in providing independent advocacy support to people with learning disabilities, we are devastated that the current financial situation has forced this decision.

“We would like to take this opportunity to say a sincere thank you to everyone who has supported Batias and the work we have done over the last 31 years. In that time we have seen many changes and have been able to make a real difference in the lives of more than 10,000 people. 

“Batias has been recognised for high quality, person-centred services receiving the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in 2021, and held the Quality Performance Mark for Advocacy Services 2016-2024.

“We would especially like to thank all of the staff and volunteers, past and present who have worked passionately to ensure our clients’ voices are heard, and they were given the opportunities they deserved to live their best lives.”

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