The mental health charity SaneLine is staring into the abyss of financial ruin after the government stopped its funding and the tsunami appeal diverted many of its donors. The charity provides a telephone helpline staffed by volunteers that gives advice to those with mental health difficulties.
The papers have reported a variety of different stories over the last month, some conflicting, others potentially congruent. SaneLine might take anywhere between 50,000 and 500,000 calls each year (in face the former figure is closer to the truth). The charity apparently made a mistake in its applications for government funding. And/or perhaps the Department of Health failed to pay them the money they were owed under previous funding agreements.
As so often in government it’s impossible to know exactly what is really going on. What they say is happening is probably just a smoke-screen for the real behind-the-scenes machinations. Whatever the truth, it seems incredible that the government is taking away funding from a charity that provides such a valuable service.
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Published: 12 April 2005