A DISABILITY charity will close its Southend branch in two months unless it can raise £7,000.

Southend Dial, which acts as an advocate for disabled people and helps them apply for financial support, could close in April unless donations come forward.

The charity has already closed its office and stripped back its services to the bare minimum after a funding shortage in 2012.

It now meets service users at the Forum Southend Library, in Elmer Square, Southend, between 10am and 2pm on Wednesdays and by appointment at the St Marks Centre, in Princes Street, Southend, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All staff now give their time for free.

Vice-chairman Ron Alexander said: “The chairman and I are virtually donating money to keep it going.

“Last time I looked in the bank, we had £28.”

Mr Alexander, who suffers arthritis from an accident while he was serving in the Royal Navy, said the charity needs £7,000 minimum to run each year.

Dial, which helps disabled people fill out forms applying for benefits, such as disability living allowance, and carers, was weeks from closure in August 2012.

But Southend-based medical equipment firm KeyMed saved the service with a £5,000 donation after an appeal in the Echo.

The Basildon branch of the charity recently received a £300,000 donation from the Big Lottery Fund, but the Southend branch receives none of the cash. Mr Alexander fears donors may withhold their cash, believing the Southend branch has benefited from the windfall.

Volunteer Preeti Aggarwal, who like most volunteers is also disabled, said: “It’s very important to people. They need us.

"They need our support.

“When I said to clients that we are closing we had people crying, asking if there is any way they can help.”

The charity is particularly looking for corporate sponsorship.

To speak to Dial, or to offer a donation, call 07954227394.