After months of worry it looks like good news is on the horizon for the day care centres as the final details of a new funding proposal will be decided by Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet today (December 17).
The centres, which between them help thousands of the county’s over 65s, had been told earlier this year that the three-year social well-being contract that was being paid for by the public health grant was due to come to an end from this March. This had caused huge concern for the organisations and their users, man of whom had spoken out publicly, with Age UK saying the funding cut could even force them to close some of the day centres.But now the authority has reviewed the arrangement and is proposing a one-year extension clause. Instead of giving £656,000 to the day centre organisations it will now allocate £800,000 in the 2020/21 financial year- which is a 21 per cent increase.
Lee McCormick is manager of The Autumn Centre which was one of the centres that faced losing £57,000 – which made up a quarter of its yearly budget.
He said: “This is really good news and will make a huge difference. We are putting in place more services so we can meet more of the public health outcomes and will have some cessation advisers and also a falls prevention programme.
“We have more people coming to our door each day and it is clear what a difference our services make to the community.”
The report says: “£800,000 of the funding will be used for wider health and well-being activities provided through day centre opportunities, with a contract variation agreed that provides a more equitable funding structure to providers, builds on stronger alignment to public health priorities and reporting of outcomes, and offers an opportunity to develop more innovative models of delivery.”
It also says that if the day centre funding is stopped completely when the current social well-being contract comes to an end an equality impact assessment has shown there could be potential impacts on people’s well-being as well as an increased demand for other services.
It says: “Given existing pressure on health and well-being services in the county would not be a positive outcome for the system and therefore may have negative impact on population health.”
The authority says in the report that the current contract does not align with public health priorities and there was an inequity in terms of how the money was distribution across the county.
The seven day care organisations currently funded under the social well-being contract are: Wellingborough Afro-Caribbean Association, Serve, The Autumn Centre, Marlow House, Glamis Hall, Age UK and Dostiyo Asian Womens and Girls Association.
The social well-being contract totalled £1.697m a year, £949,000 of which had been going to five organisations that had been providing support and accommodation for rough sleepers.
Their funding will reduce to £500,000 for 2020/21. The cabinet will also agree to begin procurement for services fom 2021, with a proposed drop in total funding to £900,000 per year.