Crescent charity saved from closure by 'outstanding' support

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Ian Murtagh and protesters meet to save the Crescent Ian Murtagh and protesters meet to save the Crescent

A St Albans based HIV charity has been saved from closing its doors by "outstanding" support and generosity from local residents and businesses.

Since funding was withdrawn from the Crescent in Russell Avenue by Hertfordshire County Council in June 2011 volunteers have continued to run the charity through their own money and donations.

However volunteers feared closure in January when money started to run out.

Iain Murtagh, operations manager, said: "In January we really thought we were coming to the end because we didn’t have anything in the pipeline.

"Ever since then it has gone from strength to strength and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

"We met with Hertfordshire County Council in March and it was very clear from there they were not willing to extend their provision.

"The support has been quite outstanding."

Since the beginning of the year a charity fashion show hosted by Chloe James, High Street, has raised £1,600 for the Crescent, a St Albans Lions Club charity quiz raised £1,000 as well as a Waitrose community care project which raised £240, have helped to keep the charity open.

Now The Crescent is looking forward to a fundraising busking and street collection event outside the Clock Tower on Saturday, May 24. As organised by Denise Parsons of the Trestle Arts Base, a group of city musicians have pledged their support.

Preparations are also underway for the Roman Holiday Extravaganza, which will be hosted by the city’s Mayor Annie Brewster at the Old Town Hall, Market Place, St Peters Street on Friday, May 30 from 7.30 pm.

There will live music from Ricky Lopez and Elvis Shmelvis and food provided by L’italiana in French Row. Dress code suggestions are 50′s glamour, filmstar/stylish dress so dress to impress to dance the night away to fundraise for the Crescent. The event also celebrates the St Albans Film Festival, which is running from May 1 to May 4.

Staff members from SKY BSB based in Victoria Street have also said they will revamp The Crescent's garden on May 20.

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