A charity that has specialised in mental health services for LGBT+ people is closing down after 31 years, citing the financial climate.
London-based charity PACE has worked since 1985 PACE to provide support services for the LGBT+ community – including counselling, advocacy, training, youth work, research and mental health support services.
It previously received funding from government sources including the City of London, the London Borough of Hackney, the Big Lottery Fund, London Councils and the Department for Education.
However, the charity has made the tough decision to close its doors this month – citing cuts to local authority budgets leading to financial woes.
A spokesperson for PACE said: “The decision to close the doors on PACE after 31 years of supporting the LGBT+ community is one that we have taken with a very heavy heart.
“The financial climate is very difficult for small charities, especially those delivering services at a local level with continuing cuts to local authority budgets.
“Sadly despite work to support the charity raising the necessary income needed has proved increasingly hard and it has become clear that it is no longer financially viable for the charity to continue.
“The staff and trustees will work to ensure that PACE’s clients are given as much support as possible during this difficult time and referred to other support services as far as is possible.
“We would like to thank all those who have supported us and worked with us to deliver vital support services for the LGBT+ community.
“A very big thank you to all the staff and volunteers over the last 31 years wo have provided so much support and dedication to the community.”
PACE is set to cease operating 29 January 2016.
Studies have linked mental health issues amongst LGBT people to discrimination, bullying, homophobia, pressure to conform and poor self-esteem. Levels of suicide, deliberate self-harm and drug and alcohol abuse are also significantly higher amongst LGBT people than for their heterosexual counterparts.
Singer Will Young had served as a patron of the charity since 2013.
He said previously: “Every LGBT person should be granted the right to freedom of expression and personal fulfilment without prejudice” said Young.
“Here at PACE we support LGBT people and allow them to grow by listening, advising and most importantly allowing people to be themselves. It’s an absolute pleasure to become a patron of PACE; being able to listen to and learn from lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people about their experiences of developing better mental health is a privilege.”
The charity advises those in need of support to instead contact the LGBT Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 or via their website.