Helpline may have to close

22 March 2010, 17:23 | Updated: 23 March 2010, 08:52

An Oxford-based national helpline supporting parents of children who have died say they may have to close because of a drop in donations.

Mark Roberts from Cutteslowe set up the Grieving Parents Support Group with his wife Sarah following the death of his son Matthew in 2002, aged 20 months.

The charity's suffered a big drop in donations during the recession and now needs a lot of money to keep going.

Mark and Sarah take calls from grieving parents from across the country 24 hours a day, almost all the way through the year.  Whenever they take time off, they have to get people in to take calls on their behalf.

Mark has been telling Heart: "People will call just to talk and to release their feelings more than anything else.  This year we need at least double [the donations] we were taking last year."

The biggest cost to the charity is the 0845 number they rent, which allows callers anywhere in the UK to speak to the support group for just the cost of a local call.  The charity has to pick up the rest of the tab.

The Grieving Parents Support Group can be contacted on 0845 603 4309.