A charity providing a safety net to young people has just weeks to raise thousands of pounds if it is to keep running.
Gizmo has helped countless youngsters across Hastings and St Leonards since being set up by Pat Fisher 12 years ago.
Now the charity, which provides training in dance, animation, acting and singing, needs to raise £3,000 by June to keep running.
“The funding situation is that we have had funding streams before and they are no longer there,” said Pat.
“Apart from being there at every workshop and managing the day-to-day running I have been the main fundraiser.
“Last year my brother died and I carried on and carried on and then I got really sick.”
Apart from Pat’s illness, the charity has also taken a hit after missing out on recent community funding and receiving a bill for business rates, having previously been exempt.
“All of this has put us in a more perilous position,” said Pat.
“We are facing closure in June if we can’t raise the funds for the rental of the properties. We need to find the funds pretty quickly.”
For Pat, it is vital Gizmo is able to continue its work supporting children and young people.
“I set it up because there was a specific need here to help young people,” said Pat.
“After a few years we started getting lots and lots of kids and we became a registered charity in 2007.”
Now the charity runs eight workshops a week and 30 to 40 community performances a year, as well as a youth club on Friday where children are given a meal.
Gizmo also opens on Christmas Day, providing a hot dinner for up to 30 children.
“We have created a safe environment where the kids can come,” said Pat.
“We have been very successful at intervening before the situation gets worse.
“Most of our kids have gone on to college and training, they have done really, really well.”
One of those former Gizmo youngsters spotted an appeal on the group’s Facebook page and set up a fundraising bid on crowd-funding website GoFundMe.
Pat is hoping other former students will now get behind the campaign to help the charity which once helped them.
“In Hastings and St Leonards there must be lots and lots of kids that have come through us,” she said.
“I am appealing to them for help.”
She added: “By June we need to raise £3,000 just for the rent, that is not for the overheads.
“But as long as we have got the money for that then we have got bases where the kids can go.”
How to get involved
If you would like to help Gizmo reach its fundraising target there are a number of ways to get involved:
You can donate online by visiting www.gofundme.com/tef3js.
Alternatively, pop into any HSBC and donate any amount into the GIZMO the.DIY THEATRE COMPANY account or drop your donation into Gizmo Gaffe 29 Western Road St. Leonards on Sea.
Anyone with fundraising ideas can call Pat on 01424 436333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.