A CHARITY which helps adults with learning disabilities to thrive has been forced to close one of its two sites.

The Walton Lea Project, which has a base off Chester Road and a centre on Long Lane, has decided to move all Long Lane staff and its beneficiaries to the Chester Road estate.

They will join the existing volunteers and beneficiaries for a six-month period before up to 30 beneficiaries move to the Walton Estate in April 2019.

In partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund and Warrington Borough Council, the charity will share learning and work space with Myerscough College in the renewed Conservatory and Shippon building.

The team will move from Long Lane in October 2018 and there will be no redundancies.

A spokesperson from the charity said: "Since June of 2013, trustees have focused on maintaining the charity’s solvency and sustainability to protect our learning-disabled adults’ placements and our staffs’ jobs.

“Revenue from what staff and beneficiaries produce in our social enterprises provides extra income while public funding is frozen.

“Despite great team effort we have never earned enough to deliver a healthy surplus or reserves.

"Year-on-year, inflation has edged upwards and service and utility costs, charges for insurance and maintaining our vans on the road have risen.

"Buildings on both sites have been patched-up but need urgent investment.

“It is a choice we did not want to make but we can’t afford escalating costs at both Long Lane and Walton Lea.

"Retaining Long Lane site would lead to a deficit of about £40,000 by the end of 2019/20, ending the charity’s work.”

As the Walton Lea Project faces the difficult reality of keeping a small charity going in 2018, the team is working with Warrington Borough Council to ensure changes happen as smoothly as possible for everyone.

He added: “Walton is just over three miles away from Long Lane and our managers will meet beneficiaries and carers one-to-one ensuring they are supported throughout the transition.

“We value everyone’s support in ensuring that the charity and our beneficiaries flourish as we make the changes essential to achieve this.”