Peer-led London mental health charity Hearts and Minds has closed down due to financial and staffing problems, but has said that former employees would continue to offer support as a voluntary collective.
The closure of Hearts and Minds, which supported young people aged 14-25 experiencing mental health difficulties, was announced on its website on January 19.
But former staff and volunteers have confirmed that they are still providing support on a voluntary basis, through in-person and online group meetings.
A spokesperson for Hearts and Minds said: “The situation on the ground is that the group sessions are continuing under the collective, and the Hearts and Minds community still exists and is open to people who would like to attend.”
Hearts and Minds was founded in 2017 by director Beth Ingram and mainly offered peer-led services, which both assisted and were run by young people with experience of mental health difficulties.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity faced severe difficulties. According to the statement on its website, it struggled due to long-term staff absences, and lacked sufficient funds to replace staff who had left.
The statement said: “We are all absolutely devastated by this news [of the closure], and we know this will come as a painful shock to our community and our many supporters and partner organisations.
“We are all proud of what has been achieved during [Hearts and Minds’] four years and feel we have demonstrated the value of and need for ongoing peer support projects.”
The new voluntary collective is currently holding in-person peer support group meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at south London National Trust property Morden Hall Park. Online meetings will be held on the third Thursday of the month.
The collective will also continue to hold the charity’s “brave spaces” groups for young people of colour, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people with autism.
Anyone interested in joining the support group meetings should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, those interested in joining the group for autistic young people should email email@example.com, while those who want to join the queer and transgender group should email firstname.lastname@example.org.