Leeds child bereavement charity Charlies Angel Centre faces battle to survive

A charity supporting families following the death of a child is facing a battle to survive amid a drop in funding and rising costs.

The Charlies Angel Centre Foundation, in Leeds, offers counselling and advice to bereaved parents and siblings.

It was set up by the family of Charlie Curtis, who lived for only 19 minutes after being born. They said they suffered from a lack of support when Charlie died in 2012.

But after fundraising paused during the pandemic, and with costs rising, staff say they only have enough money left for the next six months.

Charlie's grandmother, Ruth Curtis, one of the charity's founders, said: "We don't want to close, it's something we would never want to do because we know how important we are and we wouldn't want the families we support to have to go it alone.

"It's been heartbreaking having these thoughts and thinking that it's something that could happen."

Helen Barker is among those to have been supported by the charity, after she lost her 24-year-old son, Andrew, to cancer in 2018.

She said: "Without them being here I honestly don't know how we'd cope. You need something specific when your child dies - it's not just normal counselling, you need more than that. There are no words to describe how much we need them."

The charity has launched an appeal to raise £10,000.

In a message to supporters it said: It said: "Covid has finally taken its toll. Over the last couple of years we have tried really hard to keep the bereavement centre open, when it’s been very hard not having funds coming in.

"We are not a funded charity and rely on members of the public to support us. We know how important the charity is to people who need our help.

"We are a lifeline, but without help we will have no choice but to close."

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