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Home-Start faces £10,000 challenge to remain open
A VITAL family support service in Wyre Forest needs to raise £10,000 before the end of January or face closure, it has emerged.
Home-Start Wyre Forest’s board of directors has agreed a restructuring model, which would enable the under-threat charity to provide a limited ser - vice, continue to support its current 70 families and give bosses more time to secure substantial funding.
Manager Belinda Darby, however, warned the new model was dependent upon Home-Start collecting £10,000 by January 31.
Several applications for funding are due to be decided during this month and next but if the target is not reached she said staff would be made redundant and the scheme would close by the end of March.
Even if the service is saved, it would not be able to help more than 100 families for the foreseeable future. The number is just half of the 199 vulnerable families, including 409 children, supported last year.
The crisis began after Worcestershire County Council announced it would not renew its £77,000-a-year funding contract with Home-Start in January, as part of a bid to save £315,500.
That grant represents 55 per cent of the charity’s income but the financial uncertainty has made it difficult to secure cash from other sources.
Mrs Darby said: “In the current economic climate it is difficult to feel confident about applications for funding because they are oversubscribed with groups in the same situation.
“There is a lot of goodwill in the community and our most important priority is just recognising that even if we are financially quite poor, our biggest asset is our volunteers – we need to keep the volunteers and our users together. We cannot accept any new referrals for now – the hope in the short term is we can keep families and volunteers together.”
The restructuring model would also give Home-Start directors an opportunity to work out a permanent way forward for the befriending service. She added: “We are very grateful for the support and recognition of the need for our service from professionals, families, councillors and community members.”
Support has also come from service users such as Warren Ledbury, 26, of Kidderminster, who will have the shape of snowflakes shaved into his head on Wednesday, January 8, to raise cash as part of the annual snowflake appeal.
Mr Ledbury said he wanted to give something back to the charity, which has been supporting him, his wife and three young children. To sponsor Mr Ledbury, contact Home-Start on 01562 825896 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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