SUPPORTERS have rallied to save the county’s only charity that supports young carers after it was threatened with closure.

Be Free Young Carers, which supports more than 500 young people aged eight to 24, looked set to shut for good this Friday due to a lack of funding, but has now been given a reprieve after donations flooded in.

Dozens of carers who have been helped by the Harwell-based group since 1994, along with councillors and other organisations, came together to try to rescue it after the news broke on Thursday.

Director John Tabor said it had been a ‘monster of a rollercoaster’ but all the staff had been ‘blown away’ by the generous reaction and were now looking forward to a brighter future.

Trustees had announced their intention to close the charity, which provides day trips, social activities and training for those caring for an ill or vulnerable family member, after missing out on ‘vital funding’.

Despite an ever-increasing demand for its services, the group has been relying on piecemeal grants and donations.

Mr Tabor said: “We have been blown away by the outpouring of support we’ve received from the county.

“We now have enough donations that the imminent threat of closure has subsided.

“I do not think we expected the level of support to be as huge as it has been, it’s just been fantastic.”

Along with numerous private donations, the charity has been in discussions with Oxfordshire County Council about securing some immediate funding to help it survive and plan for the future.

County councillor Mark Gray said he was bringing a motion to the council on July 10 in the hopes of securing a £10,000 grant.

He is also encouraging fellow councillors to pledge funds from a ‘priority fund’ to add another £10,000 of immediate funding.

Be Free Young Carers will then be encouraged to work with experts to evaluate the way it works in an attempt to start anew.

Mr Gray, who pledged his support as soon as he heard of the charity’s problems, said: “I thought it was a tragedy that such a valuable charity could go to the wall.

“I had to do something to get them an immediate reprieve during which time we can work with them to address the problems.”

Among those who has been supported by the charity is Courtney Hughes – known around the county for her Secret Santa Christmas fundraising appeal – since her mum Claire had a stroke six years ago.

Mrs Hughes's petition so save the charity so it could help others like her daughter was signed 335 times.