Relate Lincolnshire 'shocked' at centre closures

Mother and daughter holding hands
Image caption Clients in the Lincolnshire area can call 0300 003 2164 for support

A Lincolnshire relationship counselling charity said it was "deeply shocking" it has been forced to close all 10 of its centres across the county.

Relate Lincolnshire will shut remaining centres on Wednesday after losing its £100,000 grant from the county council.

A trustee of the charity said the service had provided vital support to families for 53 years.

Lincolnshire County Council said it had to "prioritise frontline services" in financial difficulties.

Centres in Sleaford, Spilsby, Grantham, Mablethorpe, Boston, Market Rasen, Gainsborough, Grimsby and Scunthorpe will close on Wednesday. Lincoln has already closed.

'Critical for children'

County councillor Marianne Overton, who has been with the charity for 20 years, said: "It's deeply upsetting and deeply shocking.

"This kind of work has been critical for young children, but also for families to make sure they can survive and do well and can contribute positively to our society."

Ms Overton said that Relate Lincolnshire was in a "frontline position where we will help people right at the outset and really make a difference to their lives".

Andrew McLean, children's services manager at the county council, said: "In the difficult financial climate we have to prioritise other essential, frontline services".

He said the authority has a separate contract with Relate for counselling for families with children with disabilities, which would continue.

Chris Sherwood, chief executive at National Relate, said: "We would like to reassure current clients that Relate as a national charity is committed to delivering services to people in the Lincolnshire area, and will be working to re-establish services as quickly as possible."

He said in the "short interruption in services" clients could receive telephone and email counselling.

The organisation hopes to provide alternative services in Lincolnshire in the future.

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