Center all ears no more

-A A +A
By Jenny Hartley

The Listening Center, which has offered support groups free of charge for more than 20 years, closed its doors on Thursday.

Lindsay Pace, who has been director of the center for the last three months, said the agency is closing due to a lack of funding. She didn't get specific.

"A lot of people are sad to see it leaving," Pace said. "It's been difficult for a lot of people.'

The New Hope Group of Narcotics Anonymous will continue to meet at the center. Pace said she believes the fibromyalgia support group will continue to meet there.

Other support groups that met at the center included Co-Dependents Anonymous; Good Success, a criminal domestic violence and anger management group; and groups for people with hepatitis C and those that promoted responsible living and relapse prevention.

Fortunately, Pace said, with the many agencies that have been founded since The Listening Center was begun, many people who attended support groups at the center will have another place to go.

"There are not as many gaps today," she said.

County Council has funded The Listening Center in past years. Council members debated funding several nonprofit agencies in its 2008-09 budget, including The Listening Center at $18,000.

Council ended up funding several nonprofits in the new budget, but not The Listening Center because County Administrator Steve Willis said the center would likely close this year.

Kathy Wilds, director of Learning Institute For Tomorrow in Lancaster (LIFT), an agency that provides job and coping skills and education for clients who may be suffering from mental illness or substance abuse, said it's too early to tell what impact The Listening Center's closure will have on LIFT clients.

LIFT clients often attended the self-help groups offered at the center.

"It's unfortunate it closed," Wilds said. "I wish there were more resources for supportive behavioral health care. You've got LIFT, public mental health, the self-help groups and that's about it."

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151