Due to funding cuts Signposts (http://www.signposts.org.uk/), the charity which runs the Multi Agency Resource Centre (MARC) on Regent Road in Morecambe, is to close its operations on Friday 26 April. The Signposts Board has issued the following statement:
"It is with great regret that the Signposts Board has had to take the difficult decision to cease operation after almost twenty years of providing support to the West End of Morecambe and Lancaster District and ten years in Preston.
"The Chair of the Board, Phil Wilkinson said that the impact of the financial climate on Signposts has been profound and although significant progress has been made towards sustainability through restructuring, cost savings and work to secure new funding, it has become financially impossible to maintain Signposts at a viable level.
"John Heath, Chief Executive said that the staff team are now working with the many committed volunteers who support Signposts to help them and the communities they work with deal with the significant impact of the loss of these vital services. The timing, given the changes within the benefits system, could not be worse and the added pressure that the closure of Signposts will place on other services is likely to be significant if they are to prevent the people Signposts worked for falling through the cracks.
"We’re working with our commissioners to ensure that as many of the services Signposts delivers can be sustained into the future and where possible elements of our work will transfer to other providers.
"Sharon Calverley, Director of Operations and Development has been at Signposts from very early in its history and is herself a product of the success of Signposts. She came to deliver an eight week training crèche just after the service opened and has grown and developed within the organisation and her experience and commitment to the team and the very ethos of signposts has been pivotal to our successes.
"Sharon is keen to celebrate the work of the volunteers within the service who have worked tirelessly to support the communities in which they work. She said 'Our volunteers have a huge range of skills and abilities which I hope will be able to be used within the community – they are immensely disappointed that the service is closing but have shown immense resilience and are keen to ensure our clients continue to receive the best possible service within the current circumstances.
'Apart from the significant achievements of Signposts over the last two decades our volunteers are our biggest asset and deserve total respect for their passion, commitment and dedication to the work.'"
John Heath added: 'Signposts will close on Friday 26th April – this gives the team time to share information with our service users and to help them to engage with other services. On a personal note, I am keen to thank the Board, our partners, funders and particularly the team for their support during the last 12 months in my role as Chief Executive – without their efforts Signposts could not have achieved so much during its final year of operation.'"
Update 19/4/13: A facebook group, 'Save Our Service', for volunteers has been set up, sending out an S.O.S to the local Morecambe community to help set up a new volunteer lead organisation.