A charity helping young people with disabilities says it will have to close its workshops in two weeks if it can’t raise the necessary funds to keep operating.

StarJam has been offering music, dance and performance workshops for young people with disabilities for 22 years, providing a “safe haven” for hundreds.

But the rising cost of living, increased cost of doing business, and reduced funding streams have hammered the charity, and now there is serious concern it will have to close its doors.

Speaking to 1News, StarJam chief executive Gilli Sinclair said the organisation was dealing with short-term cashflow problems as it moves away from being primarily funded by grants.

Sinclair said the organisation had spent the last six months exploring ways to reduce costs, increase income, and diversify fundraising.

“So, we’re just in that transition stage,” she said.

“We’ve got some brilliant medium-term and long-term strategies that will kick in around June/July, but we’ve just got this period of time where we’re struggling,” she said.

StarJam has now launched a fundraiser, looking to raise $100,000 so it can continue its workshops and keep the doors open. Sinclair said that if the charity can’t raise the money, it will likely be forced to stop workshops and close its doors in two weeks.

“If we shut, hundreds of young people living with a disability will lose the workshops they describe as ‘my favourite place to be’ and ‘the place I can be myself and be happy’,” Sinclair said.

She said it was “vital” that the organisation continues to do the work it does.

“I see the difference it makes in kids’ lives, and I watch some of these young people transform because of StarJam,” she said.

“We have one young man who goes to a workshop. For the first year, he sat outside and was too anxious and nervous to even go into the workshop. Three years later, I saw him performing and being an MC at a concert.”

She said those kinds of changes “are just so important to young people with disabilities”.

“StarJam is an amazing organisation, and we give young people an opportunity to experience that being different doesn’t make you less.”

She is encouraging people to donate to the fundraiser, which can be found here.