North Nibley Romania charity forced to close after 20 years
FUNDING shortfalls have forced a long-standing North Nibley charity to close.
The North Nibley Romania Team (NNRT) cited dwindling donations in recent years as the major reason behind the difficult decision to wind down the charity.
Members made the decision at the group’s meeting in the village church on Saturday, September 21.
The Gloucestershire charity has supported a psychiatric hospital, school and the community in a small Romanian village for more than 20 years.
A former coal mining community, Mina 1 Mai is near the city of Brasov and 3 and half hours from Bucharest.
Since its founding in 1990, NNRT has renovated the hospital kitchen, built a dental and doctors surgery and replaced the underground steam heating system. The charity has also financed drugs and a dentist.
The hospital, the former headquarters of a mining firm, houses around 150 people with a variety of long-term conditions from schizophrenia, learning disabilities and alcoholism.
With conditions and staffing levels falling short of those in British hospitals, NNRT has worked to improve the surroundings for the patients, many of whom will spend their whole lives in the institution.
Donations have also funded plumbing works, new toilets and rewiring at the village school, along with new furniture and networked computers.
NNRT chairman Peter Tolson said that fundraising difficulties had made the charity’s future untenable.
“The charity was formed in response to the shocking news coming out of Romania about the state of its hospitals and institutions,” he explained. “We're a small charity and everything donated to us goes straight to those who need it in Romania. However, in the past few years, during the recession, it has been increasingly hard to get people to donate.”
As a result of the dwindling finances team members reluctantly proposed that the charity be wound up at the annual general meeting in January next year.
“It's a very hard decision to make,” said Mr Tolson. “We have forged strong friendships with staff and patients over the years and many know us by name.”
“We've kept in contact with the hospital as much as we can, with small teams travelling there at Christmas to buy small gifts, to show them that they aren't forgotten and that there are people who care about them.”
Charity member Matt Bigwood added: “People will definitely keep in touch with the hospital as it has been a large part of many of the charity members lives for many years.”
Final donations to the NNRT appeal can be directed to Mr Tolson at 21 Fairoak Way, Baughurst, Tadley, Hampshire, RG26 5NT or on 01189 816415.
For more information see www.nnrt.co.uk
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