Too few candidates and a shortfall in funding have forced Deptherapy to announce that it will close on 31 August, 2023 – the end of the financial year for the scuba-diving rehabilitation charity for injured armed forces veterans.
Covid-related problems have led the board of trustees to determine that there are neither enough new candidates for Deptherapy’s programmes nor funds to serve existing members.
“In simple terms, we are no longer able to recruit sufficient beneficiaries to maintain a viable programme,” stated the charity, blaming the situation on a combination of the “decimation of our programmes during the coronavirus era” and the “changed demographic profile of our current beneficiaries, who are unable to commit the necessary time to the programme.”
The charity also said that its income was no longer sustainable because of a downturn in donations and givers’ altered priorities, which had “escalated during the coronavirus era”. Deptherapy had become almost entirely dependent on grant funding, which was “not a viable model for a small charity”.
Before closing its doors, Deptherapy intends to fulfil existing commitments, including an upcoming week-long Red Sea resort trip in October, and another next summer as well as a liveaboard trip if funds allow. It also plans to see through a programme for senior beneficiaries who buddy newer recruits, and a November retreat in Sheffield set to include the launch of a mental-awareness course.
“We will continue to support our beneficiaries and to deepen existing support networks to enable their more self-sufficient operation once the Deptherapy umbrella has formally folded,” says the charity.
“We will also work on securing for the future our legacy in practical terms, so that our life-changing work in both adaptive teaching and mental-health awareness can continue beyond the lifespan of the Deptherapy charity.
“We know that there is still a huge demand for what we do but we must be realistic about our future. We have no doubt that the community of support, often referred to as the ‘Deptherapy’ family, will continue to exist among our beneficiary community long after we have closed down our formal operations.”
Deptherapy was formed in 2014 and continued to be led and run entirely by a team of volunteers under the energetic direction of Dr Richard Cullen.
From now until its closure, the board of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education will be limited to five trustees. “We are incredibly proud of our work, and that of all those who have taken part in our programmes,” says the charity, stating that “Deptherapy leaves a huge footprint on the scuba-diving industry globally”.