Funds offer lifeline for local charity

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Carbon Monoxide Awareness President, Lynn Griffiths ©

Carbon Monoxide Awareness President, Lynn Griffiths

A crisis-hit Liverpool-based charity that was on the brink of collapse has been handed a last-minute lifeline.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness, which is a national charity, was set to close on December 31st unless the group gained some emergency funding to keep it running for another month.

PlusDane, a Cheshire housing association, donated £200 last month which has helped to save the charity from imminent closure.

 Lynn Griffiths, president of Carbon Monoxide Awareness, is pleading for councils and housing associations to donate £500 each, which equates to £10 a week. Lynn believes that if she receives at least 50 to 100 donations the charity will be saved for another year.

 The charity is in a financial crisis due to Government cutbacks which have deterred organisations from donating money. It is the only carbon monoxide charity that has no paid staff and has a volunteer who works endlessly to provide a network for victims of the of the “silent killer”.

The money received last month will help to fund the charity’s  mobile phone and internet connection so that Lynn can communicate with victims. The charity is run by volunteers and every penny is ploughed back in to help victims and to raise awareness.

Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include viral infections, headaches and nausea.

Lynn and her family were poisoned for ten years after numerous gas engineers failed to spot that the flue behind her fire was blocked. Doctors put the family’s health complications down to the flu. Lynn now suffers with health problems such as a brain injury which has left her with short-term memory loss.

Approximately 4,000 people a year are affected by CO poisoning and the charity is dealing with more cases than ever referred to it by the Royal College Of Emergency Medicine and NHS Direct.

Lynn told JMU Journalism: “We are facing closure when we are needed more than ever. The simple fact of the matter is that the current economic climate is forcing thousands of people into poverty and they don’t have spare cash for even essential maintenance like having their central heating boilers and other fuel-burning appliances serviced at the appropriate time.”

 She added: “It’s a false economy and people are gambling with their lives, but when it comes down to a choice between putting food on the table and having a flue checked, or an appliance serviced, I can understand where they’re coming from. These are desperate days and people are making desperate choices.”

 To contact Lynn Griffiths, or donate to her charity visit www.covictim.org

About Sara Ainsworth, JMU Journalism