Samaritans unit in closure threat

A regional Samaritans group is facing closure after the Big Lottery Fund rejected a bid for £300,000.

The Sheffield branch of the advice line service needs the money to refurbish premises it has just bought.

Averill Hazell, director of the branch, said: "If we don't get the funding from some other means, we may have to close down."

She added: "They (the fund) have a difficult job to do, but we were very disappointed."

A spokesman from the Big Lottery Fund said that it was a good application, but that the committee had to consider a total of 30 and were only able to fund eight at an average award of £165,557 each. The sum the Samaritans requested was too large for the limited funds available from the Yorkshire and Humberside lottery budget, he said.

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