A PROJECT described as a lifeline for people with personality disorders has been saved.

The Haven Project has been battling for survival since its ten-year funding programme from the Department for Health came to an end.

The scheme, which was based in Glen Avenue, Lexden, has helped nearly 400 people with personality disorders.

It was forced to shut its doors to about 180 clients in March and has been unable to provide support to them since.

Members pleaded for help from other funders.

Now their prayers have been answered and the Big Lottery has awarded £384,000 to be spent over three years. Essex County Council has also awarded £72,000 for three years.

The Haven Project will reopen from a new venue – St Peter’s Court, St Peter’s Street, Colchester, by the end of the month.

Pernille Petersen, project manager, said: “Clients were jubilant when they heard the news.

They have been campaigning and keeping their hopes up for the past year.

“Their courage has been an inspiration.

“The Haven has sent out letters to invite clients to re-register and become part of the reformed service. Having faced closure and indeed been temporarily closed, the board and management are keen to meet the performance targets and to ensure funding is put in place before the three years of current funding is up.”

Ms Petersen said the project would be a smaller service and six of its original 12 full-time staff had been made redundant as a result. It will offer recovery workshops from the centre and a crisis prevention call line will be available between 7pm and 1am.

Ms Petersen said she will soon still have to look for other funding sources to safeguard the project’s future.

She added: “The inspiration and courage the clients have shown throughout these 15 to 16 months have been a lift to me.

“It has given me strength and courage and has been my shield and has given me hope.”

North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group said it was unable to continue funding the project for £500,000 a year and is developing an alternative strategy for caring for people with mental health problems.