THE Westminster Advisory Centre on Alcoholism is faced with closure following a decision by the City council not to give it a grant for next year.
The centre had already been struggling with leaking water and cold during the last winter. It had been hoped that new premises could be found to replace its dilapidated William IV Street offices in central London. None could be provided by the Westminster Council, and with no grant, the charity cannot afford to move.
The centre's director, Fr Dunstan Thill said that they would have to close part of the premises because of their condition and would attempt to smarten up the rest themselves. "We are launching an all-out appeal," he said, "We hope the necessary money will be found: otherwise we'll eventually have to close."
Fr Thill heard of the decision by Westminster Council last week. They had already been told by the Department of Health and Social Security that no funds would be available from there.
1.r Thill sees the lack of help as a result of government spending cuts. Westminster Council are reluctant to give support to a centre which receives people from all over London, and the national authorities have little to spare for local projects.
The centre provides information and counselling to individuals, families and cornpanies.
Fr Thill said that he had been pleased with the value that the local and national authorities had in the past seen in the centre's work, but thought Catholics could help more.
"As alcoholism strikes at the root of family life, we need the full backing of Church authorities, clergy and the faithful, if we are to succeed in our work," he said.
Ile stressed that culling aid would not save money. If the centre could not help its clients, more public money would have to be spent on social security, courts, probation and police work, he said.