Refuges' cash cut '“ and support services axed

Funding for women's refuges in Lancashire will be cut '“ and funding for '˜floating' support, sheltered accommodation, and to a service providing help for elderly people with hearing impairments axed in cost-cutting proposals.

Saturday, 27th August 2016, 2:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 27th August 2016, 3:16 pm
Funding for refuges has been cut

Lancashire County Council has announced proposals to use its new Prevention and Early Help Fund to provide £1.25m funding for domestic abuse services in the county, allowing for the continuation of Lancashire’s nine women’s refuges.

The fund will also be used to provide annual funding of £1.25m for services for homeless people with complex needs, and £500,000 for crisis support.

However, the announcement has been made in light of savage cuts to services.

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Alongside extensive consultation, a cross-party cabinet working group was set up to consider the impact of ceasing to fund the non-statutory elements of Supporting People services, as well as looking at how best to use the new annual £3m Prevention and Early Help Fund.

Under the proposals, £800,000 of the £1.25m budget for domestic violence services would fund support within the nine women’s refuges in the county.

The council is proposing that £1.25m will be made available to support homeless households with complex needs. £500,000 transitional funding is also being allocated whilst supported accommodation services are redesigned.

The county council is continuing to invest £1.35m funding to meet the housing and support needs of 16 and 17 year olds. £500,000 transitional funding is also being allocated whilst supported accommodation services for young people who are homeless, or leaving care, are redesigned.

And £500,000 proposed for crisis support will be used to provide people with furniture, food or fuel to help meet their needs during crisis situations.

Funding for the floating support service; the support funded within sheltered accommodation; and the support provided within a sheltered scheme for elderly people with hearing impairments are proposed to cease from 1 April 2017.

Where people meet the statutory threshold they will receive appropriate support and services. For those who are not eligible for statutory services then the county council will be working with people to ensure that they are made aware of other services that are available in the community.

County Coun Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “The county council faces an unprecedented financial challenge meaning it must make savings of £200m by 2020/21. This has been caused by cuts in government funding and rising demand for our services.

“We’ve had to make some very tough decisions as part of the budget to ensure we have enough money to deliver the statutory services which must be provided by law.

“One of the proposals that formed part of the council’s budget was to reduce the non-statutory part of the Supporting People service.

“We want to replace this with the Prevention and Early Help Fund. With less money than was previously available, we set up a cabinet working group and ran a consultation to see which priority areas the fund should focus on.

“We’re pleased to provide £800,000 to women’s refuges, which is only a slight reduction from the previous budget. We’re confident that by delivering the service more efficiently we won’t need to reduce the services provided by the refuges.

“We’re also able to carry on supporting homeless people with complex needs and young people who are either homeless or leaving care.

“There is also funding available for those who suffer a crisis, including help to buy furniture, gas and electricity, or food, and to receive support to help them avoid similar situations in the future.

“However, we’ve had no option but to cut some services such as the floating support, sheltered accommodation, and our support to a service providing help for elderly people with hearing impairments. We hope that many people will still be able to get support through services such as the wellbeing scheme and social care.

“These are still only proposals and have to be considered by the council’s cabinet.”