Bombshell cut puts future of Wyre Forest family charity in jeopardy

Kidderminster Shuttle: Warning: Belinda Darby says the most vulnerable Wyre Forest families will become more isolated if Home-Start is decommissioned. Picture: MIRIAM BALFRY. 471346M Warning: Belinda Darby says the most vulnerable Wyre Forest families will become more isolated if Home-Start is decommissioned. Picture: MIRIAM BALFRY. 471346M

CHILDREN’S safety in Wyre Forest could be compromised and the most vulnerable families may not receive support until they reach “crisis point” if a charity is forced to shut due to council cuts, its manager has warned.

The Shuttle has learned Worcestershire County Council is pulling the plug on its funding contract with Wyre Forest Home- Start – a vital befriending service which last year provided early help for 409 children in 199 families across the district.

The £77,000-a-year contract represents 55 per cent of the charity’s income but, because of the uncertainty, grants from other sources have also been frozen.

Home-Start manager Belinda Darby said she was determined not to close the charity but might have to suspend activities while alternative funding is sought.

County council figures show the move would save the authority £315,500 across Worcestershire and Conservative councillor Liz Eyre, cabinet member for children and families, said Home-Start services would be provided by 10:32 in Wyre Forest from next February.

10:32 receives funding from the council to help vulnerable parents and young people tackle problems before they worsen and was set up in August by children’s charity Barnardo’s, the ContinU Trust and Vestia.

It is unclear, however, whether the group would be able to give Home- Start users the same level of service, which includes visiting families at home over a six to nine-month period.

Nicola Green, 10:32 spokeswoman, said the groups “complemented” each other, adding: “We hope Home-Start can secure additional funding so they can continue to have a presence in Wyre Forest.”

Mrs Darby said: “It is insulting for our families to be told they will be moved across to a targeted intervention service, which is different and not necessarily the correct service for them.

“It could mean the most vulnerable families will go into support at crisis point. From a child protection point of view, children will be less safe, often because we are the only agent going into the home to pick up the concerns.

“The families will become more isolated and vulnerable and difficulties will escalate.”

Mrs Darby added no consultation or risk assessment had been carried out by the council. She said: “If this had been done it would have been clear there will be a gap in services”.

She said: “It makes me feel very disillusioned with the new commissioning structure.”

Mrs Eyre said: “We remain committed to protecting vulnerable residents of the county and investing in the future.

“To do this we need to do things differently and we are investing in district-based early help services, which will work to nip problems in the bud for families before they escalate and need higher-cost social care intervention.”

She added: “We hope to work closely with Home-Start to minimise any disruption to families.”

Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier said he would take up the issue and see what could be done to help Home-Start.

Comments (6)

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5:08pm Thu 21 Nov 13

stour67 says...

As usual the most vulnerable get get the cuts.
As usual the most vulnerable get get the cuts. stour67

6:18pm Thu 21 Nov 13

IGeoTre says...

I'm getting sick of people blithely saying that there are no real cuts.

This is an example of what is going on out there. The govt and councils are looking to shift more and more work on to the voluntary sector and at the same time slashing their contributions to the point that these organisations will struggle to survive.

The next thing coming down the pipeline is 'Future Lives', the future of social care. Online self-assessment for social care that they're going to get volunteers to help people complete? It's utterly unrealistic and symptomatic of the view that the voluntary sector is free.
I'm getting sick of people blithely saying that there are no real cuts. This is an example of what is going on out there. The govt and councils are looking to shift more and more work on to the voluntary sector and at the same time slashing their contributions to the point that these organisations will struggle to survive. The next thing coming down the pipeline is 'Future Lives', the future of social care. Online self-assessment for social care that they're going to get volunteers to help people complete? It's utterly unrealistic and symptomatic of the view that the voluntary sector is free. IGeoTre

11:28am Fri 22 Nov 13

Primrose Coley says...

Yet another 'Done Deal'! The District Council quotes a saving of £315,500 for its move to 10:32. Whereas, Home Start's yearly contract represents £77,000 .
10:32 is made up of three charities working together, ample potential for communication failures and vulnerable families/children slipping through the ever increasing holes in the safety net.
Home-Start on the other hand, is ONE charity well established. Its volunteers are well trained and its work well respected. Manager, Mrs Darby, states that no risk assessment or consultation has been carried out by the council. Surely this is a legal requirement for a proposed new service?
Well! I have some suggested savings of my own......... We all know that funding is allocated by central government, which cascades down to County Council level and from there to District Council level. Much of the blame for the continuing cuts can be laid at the government's feet. But, the local councils don't get to wriggle off the financial hook so easily either.
In Worcestershire, we have 57 County Councillors and 42 Ward Councillors who between them receive a total of £612,000 to dish out to community projects and charities of their choice. County Councillors each receive £10,000. District Councillors £1,000.
This is taxpayer's money which could be diverted to services such as Home-Start, to offset cuts in funding from Central Government. It does not form any part of a councillor's expenses!!!
Yet another 'Done Deal'! The District Council quotes a saving of £315,500 for its move to 10:32. Whereas, Home Start's yearly contract represents £77,000 . 10:32 is made up of three charities working together, ample potential for communication failures and vulnerable families/children slipping through the ever increasing holes in the safety net. Home-Start on the other hand, is ONE charity well established. Its volunteers are well trained and its work well respected. Manager, Mrs Darby, states that no risk assessment or consultation has been carried out by the council. Surely this is a legal requirement for a proposed new service? Well! I have some suggested savings of my own......... We all know that funding is allocated by central government, which cascades down to County Council level and from there to District Council level. Much of the blame for the continuing cuts can be laid at the government's feet. But, the local councils don't get to wriggle off the financial hook so easily either. In Worcestershire, we have 57 County Councillors and 42 Ward Councillors who between them receive a total of £612,000 to dish out to community projects and charities of their choice. County Councillors each receive £10,000. District Councillors £1,000. This is taxpayer's money which could be diverted to services such as Home-Start, to offset cuts in funding from Central Government. It does not form any part of a councillor's expenses!!! Primrose Coley

11:39am Fri 22 Nov 13

Primrose Coley says...

Sorry, the above should have read the County Council quotes.......
Sorry, the above should have read the County Council quotes....... Primrose Coley

12:07pm Fri 22 Nov 13

Primrose Coley says...

Primrose Coley wrote:
Sorry, the above should have read the County Council quotes.......
Sorry, the above should read the County Council quotes......
And clarification of 42 District Councillors which refer to the Wyre Forest Wards only. Although I believe this number is to be reduced to 36.
[quote][p][bold]Primrose Coley[/bold] wrote: Sorry, the above should have read the County Council quotes.......[/p][/quote]Sorry, the above should read the County Council quotes...... And clarification of 42 District Councillors which refer to the Wyre Forest Wards only. Although I believe this number is to be reduced to 36. Primrose Coley

4:01pm Fri 22 Nov 13

Steph B says...

It's all part of the government's austerity programme which Cameron last week says he wants made permanent. Reduce the role of the state until there is just the bare bones. The Big Society and all that. Criminal.
It's all part of the government's austerity programme which Cameron last week says he wants made permanent. Reduce the role of the state until there is just the bare bones. The Big Society and all that. Criminal. Steph B

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