Drug charity Focus12 to close, with loss of 12 jobs

The Suffolk-based charity, which once treated the comedian Russell Brand, has been in financial difficulties

The Suffolk-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity Focus12 is to close next month because of financial problems, with the loss of 12 jobs.

The 21-year-old charity, which has treated clients including the comedian Russell Brand, said it would work to ensure its existing clients were able to complete their recovery programme before it closes its doors in early August.

The charity, based in Bury St Edmunds, employs 12 people, whom a spokeswoman said would lose their jobs because of the closure.

According to the charity’s annual report for the year to 31 March 2017, when it had an income of £612,011 and spent £646,565, Focus 12’s financial problems first came to light in early 2017.

The charity’s annual report says the charity was in a "perilous" financial position after a decision in November 2016 to suspend the charity’s detoxification programme.

In April 2017, a new chief executive, Tony Kimber, was brought in and agreed the sale of the charity’s property in Risbygate Street for £435,000, which the report said would allow the charity to clear its debts totalling £250,000 and to have a "buffer of working capital and healthy reserves in place".

But in a statement on its website this week, the charity said this had not been enough to save the organisation.

"The closure is due to the changing residential rehab landscape and funding, coupled with increased costs to meet legal and clinical requirements and lower client numbers, making the current business model very difficult to sustain," the statement said.

The decision was taken with the full agreement of Kimber and the charity’s trustees, the statement said.

Kimber said: "This is a very sad day for all connected with Focus12. I am immensely proud of all of the caring and dedicated staff that have worked and volunteered at Focus12 since it began."

He paid tribute to the professionalism and commitment of staff, whom he said many beneficiaries credited with saving their lives.

"The staff can take huge pride from this," he said. "We are now working hard to make sure that existing clients successfully complete their recovery programme and will support our staff as much as is possible as they move on."

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