VITAL youth services offered by an Abingdon charity are at risk due to lack of funding.

The Abingdon Bridge project needs more funds to continue its housing and jobs projects for disadvantaged young people.

The Bridge Street drop-in centre, which employs seven part-time staff, provides support and advice for young people aged 13 to 25.

It also offers counselling, drugs and alcohol support, and sexual health advice.

But chairman Derek Pooley said its project to help homeless young people find housing would soon run out of money.

Money helping young adults find employment will also soon dry up.

Mr Pooley said: “We will have to cut some of the good work we are doing if we do not get more money.

“And with the funding reductions for youth support elsewhere, our work is becoming relatively more important.”

He added: “If these youngsters are not helped to become happy adults and good citizens, they can end up on benefits or into crime, and it is a disaster for them and for us.”

The charity, which is run on grants, support from town churches and council cash, spends about £60,000 a year.

At its annual meeting on Monday, it was announced that the charity finished the year with a £3,245 deficit and had £28,000 in the bank for the current financial year.

Mr Pooley said the charity, which was founded in 1993, could lose at least one worker if funding did not improve.

Last year, about 180 young people were helped by the charity, which also offers workshops and drop-in sessions at schools in the town.

Secretary Neil Boston said: “It is not about to shut down, but we have been spending more money than we have been getting in, so we need to do something about it.

“In general terms, it is now harder for all charitable organisations to acquire the funding they need.”

The centre helped teenager Laurie Marcks find a home when he became homeless after a family dispute last year.

He told The Herald earlier this year: “If I had not come here that day, I would not be where I am today, which is in a lot more positive position than I was.”

Sergeant Kevin Hickman, of Abingdon area police, said the charity had helped antisocial crime to fall.

He added: “As the neighbourhood sergeant, I’m very pleased to have the support of the Bridge, as quite often with policing we only have time to enforce the law and don’t get enough quality time to educate young people in a slow-time environment.”

The charity is set to move to the old police station in Bridge Street next year.

Hilary Burr, development team manager at Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action, said: “There seems to be a lot less funding around for smaller organisations.

“Larger charities are in the position to bid for and win bigger contracts.”

She added: “Charities are going to have to ask the public for more help in the future.”