Closure fears as Charlies-Angel-Centre Foundation set up in memory of baby boy issues urgent appeal

Little Charlie Curtis spent just 19 minutes in the world before his family had to say a heart-breaking goodbye.
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When mum Carrie-Ann founded a bereavement charity in his name, she did so in the hope of creating a lasting legacy that would support countless other families living with grief.

But 10 years on, the very survival of the Charlies-Angel-Centre Foundation is at risk due to a fundraising crisis that could spell the end for its bereavement centre.

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In a message to its supporters, the charity has made an urgent appeal for their help to save the centre in Ashbrooke Park, Beeston.

Carrie-Ann Curtis, centre, with Chloe Hill, Ruth Curtis, Sam Key and Clive Key at the Charlies-Angel-Centre Foundation back in 2019. Picture: Tony JohnsonCarrie-Ann Curtis, centre, with Chloe Hill, Ruth Curtis, Sam Key and Clive Key at the Charlies-Angel-Centre Foundation back in 2019. Picture: Tony Johnson
Carrie-Ann Curtis, centre, with Chloe Hill, Ruth Curtis, Sam Key and Clive Key at the Charlies-Angel-Centre Foundation back in 2019. Picture: Tony Johnson

It said: “Covid has finally taken its toll. Over the last couple of years we have tried really hard to keep the Bereavement Centre open, when it’s been very hard not having funds coming in. We are not a funded charity and rely on members of the public to support us. We know how important the charity is to people who need our help.

“We are a lifeline, but without help we will have no choice but to close.”

Charlie, who had a rare condition called Potter’s Syndrome, died soon after at he was born Leeds General Infirmary in December 2012.

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Having found there was little or no high-quality support for grieving families, Carrie-Ann and close family members came together the following year with a plan to do something to help others in the same situation.

They founded Charlies-Angel-Centre in 2013, became a registered charity in 2017 and opened the centre in 2019.

While the charity had always managed to stay around two years ahead with its funding, the pandemic meant it was not able to host its usual fundraising events.

Earlier this year, it launched the ‘Charlie's Challenge 10’ fundraiser to mark what would have been Charlie’s 10th birthday and try to rebuild its funds.

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It asked people to do any challenge - at any point this year - along the theme of the number 10.

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Ruth Curtis, one of the charity’s founder and Carrie-Ann’s stepmum, said at the time: “It can be 10 laps of a field, read 10 books - anything they want, to raise money for the charity.

“That’s the big thing we’ve missed, throughout the last couple of years. Not being able to fundraise. It’s sort of eaten into what we have got saved in the bank. It’s been a worrying time.

“We know we are OK at the minute and we just have to carry out where we can, fundraising.”

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However, the financial pressures now faced are so great that the charity is in urgent need of donations if it is to continue supporting the dozens of families currently access its free services.

In its message to supporters, the charity said: “Sadly, since opening our doors, we have always been busy.

"At the moment, we are supporting around 70 families per week through face-to-face counselling, Zoom and telephone.”

The charity also provides bereavement packs and works with statutory bodies in the city.

Visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/SaveOurBereavementCentre to make a donation and help the charity to reach its £10,000 target.

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