A Thornbury charity has launched a fundraising appeal after their town centre headquarters was condemned. 

JIGSAW Thornbury, a charity supporting families with children with additional needs and disabilities, has been based at the Bakery Annexe in Chapel Street for the last four years. 

Over the last year there have been numerous leaks in the roof and the building has now been condemned by Thornbury Town Council.

A new venue has been identified and funding is in place from The National Lottery and Thornbury Town Council, but the charity needs to ensure it has the money to make the space suitable for their families and to expand services to support the increase in demand.

CEO Tor Goodman said:  "We are very grateful to Thornbury Town Council for providing funding for this space, but sadly the building would need a substantial amount of money to be spent on it to repair this damage and other work that needs to be carried out, which means it is no longer financially viable.
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"In addition to this we have expanded significantly since first acquiring the space and now support around 580 families providing services such as support groups, a SEN-sory lending library, Young Volunteers service, wellbeing and training sessions and a mental health and resilience support programme called Project 5 ."

Cheryl Jenkinson, one of the founding Trustees of JIGSAW Thornbury and parent of a child with down syndrome, said: "We have increased our membership by around 20 per cent just since the first lockdown last March, with particular demands for help with children’s mental health issues, as a consequence of the closure of schools during lockdown and parent wellbeing."

To meet new Covid social distancing restrictions it has meant that over the last year four different venues in the local area (St Mary’s Church Hall, the Methodist Church Hall, the POD and Turnberries Community Centre) have been needed to accommodate these services. The charity now wants to bring all their services together to one accessible, central venue.

Ceri Roper, a support coordinator at JIGSAW added: Over the last year our families have been coping with even less support, delays in funding, and having children at home and keeping their education going, a lot of our parents are at breaking point. 

"The new JIGSAW Base will significantly help our more vulnerable parents to access a safe haven where they can find a friendly face and supportive listening ear."

Robert Cadman, trustee at JIGSAW and director at Cadman & Co Financial Planners said: "With the pandemic, charities like JIGSAW have been hit particularly hard over the past year, not only having to cope with reduced donations and funding but also having to find new ways to try and support the families who rely on them. 

"JIGSAW do a fantastic job and as a business we are committed to supporting them and raising funds to help develop new premises and continued support to parents and families. I would encourage other local businesses to support in whatever way they can, by donating or volunteering."

To donate go to jigsawthornbury.org.uk