A GALASHIELS mental health charity has been awarded bankruptcy following its “implosion” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Two “catalysts” for the demise of New Horizons Borders, formerly of Island Street, have been listed in a report on the accounts by the board of trustees.

According to the document – available on the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator website – an employment tribunal resulted in more than £39,000 being awarded to a former employee.

Alongside this, the increased pressure on its services during the pandemic “took its toll” on staff and volunteers.

On the tribunal, the report states that “uncertainty” surrounding the case caused a “high level of constant background workload and stress”.

The outcome of the process saw £39,937 awarded to the former employee.

Before the conclusion of the tribunal, the service – which had been receiving funding from Scottish Borders Council – suffered an “organisational break-up” after the manager resigned in June, 2020.

This precipitated the resignation of two members of staff and eight members of the board of trustees over the period July-October last year.

The report states: “As a result of this organisational break-up, Scottish Borders Council terminated its contract with immediate effect on July 21, 2020, leaving the organisation with no choice but to close.”

Three new board members were appointed in October last year to ensure a “dignified closure” of New Horizons Borders.

Meanwhile, the charity also experienced “major challenges” due to coronavirus.

“COVID-19 brought major challenges, with many more people in the community reaching out for support as they struggled with the exceptional situation of the pandemic,” the report states.

“On the morning of March 12, 2020, a very difficult and distressing decision was taken to suspend all peer support groups, in line with the regulations of a national lockdown.”

By 12pm on March 13, the charity had launched a telephone call and text support service, which continued for four months before being withdrawn “on the orders of SBC commissioners”.

A new Facebook page was also launched, while videos were produced on coping with mental health issues.

The report adds: “The anxiety and isolation of the pandemic, and its resulting lockdown, had a significant negative impact on the mental wellbeing of our members and, it must be said, of our staff and volunteers.

“Ultimately, the pressures on staff and volunteers of developing and delivering ‘projects’ and services to an ever-growing and more vulnerable membership took its toll on both staff and volunteers.”

By March 31 this year, the termination of the Island Street lease had been concluded.

Members of New Horizons Borders will be given the chance to transfer to Health in Mind, according to the report.