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Jan 1, 2016 12:37 PM

Manchester peer support center closes amid funding woes

The Associated Press and staff reports

MANCHESTER — A peer support center for mentally ill people in Manchester has closed its doors.

The Granite Pathways Clubhouse officially closed on Thursday. Co-founder Pamela Brown says the clubhouse has relied on private donations and grants since it opened in 2010 but needed a bigger budget that would allow for more staff and a new building.

State behavioral health officials say the program didn't qualify for funding because it didn't meet the state's definition of a peer support agency. Clubhouse members say that meant they had to shut it down.

"I think even the state here realizes the work we do here is beneficial, but they're also stuck in what they've chosen to align themselves with," said Jimi Labonte, who worked at Granite Pathways.

Brown says attendance has declined since the organization announced it would close at the end of the year.

Clubhouse members received assistance with finding work or going back to school. They also helped manage the day-to-day operations.

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