A PROJECT to house vulnerable Wyre Forest youngsters which nearly didn’t open because of council cuts is safe for now, but questions remain about its long-term future.
Worcestershire County Council will fund the Bromsgrove Street Foyer until the end of December, 2014, while it conducts a new review into commissioning services. New contracts are due to be announced in January next year.
A question mark had been hanging over the facility for homeless young people since the county council announced last year it wanted to slash in half its £1.8 million spending on accommodation and housing-related support for youth.
At one point it looked as if the £1.6 million project, built by West Mercia Homes and managed by charity St Basils, would not even open but the council said it had found some extra cash to fund it until the end of this year.
Conservative councillor Liz Eyre, cabinet member for children and families, said: “In response to concerns raised during consultation about the pace of change, cabinet identified additional short-term funding and agreed to extend all of current contracts for housing support for young people until December 31, 2014, to provide time for an extended transition and re-commissioning process.
“The extra time will allow for the clarification of pathways for young people and families facing homelessness, for further discussions with all providers during the open commissioning process and ensure the re-commissioning of services makes best use of the funds available.”
A St Basils spokeswoman added: “Our current funding contract will now run until the end of December 2014. Between now and then the county council will be undertaking a new commissioning exercise.”
Ward Wyre Forest district councillor Graham Ballinger, of Independent Community and Health Concern, who previously told The Shuttle he would be “worried” about the area’s young people if the project collapsed, said: “At the end of the day it has got to be on a secure footing, it is a service the district needs and a lot of money has already gone into it. I’m glad they have come to some sort of conclusion, it will be an excellent resource.