A CHARITY based in Swindon has had to close due to a lack of funding.

Swindon People First (SPF), based at Health Hydro in Milton Road, was an independent self-advocacy group run by about 10 people with learning difficulties on a committee, supported by advisers.

Formed 12 years ago, it gave people with learning difficulties information about their rights and helped people to express their concerns.

SPF had an information library for people with learning difficulties, professionals, carers and families.

Its sections included housing, benefits, the law and jobs. It offered regular meetings, workshops, conferences, user forums, consultation work and campaigned for the provision of information so everyone could understand it.

Chief adviser of the charity, Jeff Sheppard, said: "We are all disappointed SPF had to close, after all the good work that has gone on over the years.

"Swindon Council stopped our annual core funding of £25,000, but we would like to say they made the best judgment they could.

"We have no problems with them. It is one of those things that begins, has a life, and then comes to an end.

"It is unfortunate but I'm sure they have other plans in place already."

The charity folded at the end of March.

Tammy Peapell, 39, from Old Town, was on the committee as the treasurer of SPF.

She said: "It is very sad we had to close, but we hope a new group of people will take up the challenge."

The charity would like to thank everyone who worked, paid and unpaid, at SPF with such dedication over the years.

A message from the team at SPF to the organisations who helped the charity over the years reads: "We did a lot of good things over the last 12 years and thanks go to our funders, the National Community Foundation, the Department of Health and of course Swindon Council.

"Unfortunately Swindon has not been able to agree to continue funding SPF and losing this core funding has made it impossible to keep going."