Northamptonshire voluntary organisations face closure after funding stops

The three year contract paid for by NCC is due to end next year in March.
The three year contract paid for by NCC is due to end next year in March.

Eleven leading voluntary organisations in Northamptonshire have warned that 3,500 people will be left facing closure when their funding ends next year.

In a letter sent to Northamptonshire County Council's chief executive, Theresa Grant, 11 organisations who work closely with the counties most vulnerable people have said if their day centres are axed it will have a 'devastating effect on public services'.

Sally Keeble, Labours candidate for Northampton North.

Sally Keeble, Labours candidate for Northampton North.

It comes as a three-year Social Wellbeing Contract - which is currently funded through the NCC Public Health pot - will cease at the end of March 2020.

Organisations who are under threat of shutting, unless new funding can be found, include Northamptonshire Age UK, The Autumn Centre, Catch 22, Dostiyo, Glamis Hall, Marlow House Welcomes, Mayday Trust, Midland Heart, Naash, Serve and ACA.

Sally Keeble, Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Northampton North, said: “These are some of the most prominent, effective and respected organisations in the county.

"The council must heed their warning and ensure that funding is in place to maintain these essential services.

“There’s a petition on change.org. I hope people will sign it and also write to their councillors and MPs urging them to intervene to prevent a crisis in care for the most vulnerable.”

The contract has already been reduced in value from £2.6 million in 2016 to £1.6 million in 2018.

In the last two years, Chris Duff from Age UK Northants, said the 11 organisations had housed 90% of its service users who were at risk of becoming homeless in 'sustained accommodation'.

He said: "Between April and June 2019 we have helped 346 existing homeless clients and 154 new clients - 82% have a mental health diagnosis and 71% have learning needs."

He added: "The impact of our closures will have a devastating effect on public services in the county. We are particularly concerned for those who will not find the support they need."

A spokesperson from Northamptonshire County Council said: “Commsortia was awarded a three-year contract in 2017 to manage and improve social wellbeing services in Northamptonshire. This contract comes to an end, as planned, at the end of March 2020.

“Public health has been working with Commsortia, adult social care and housing partners to ensure that, as elements of this contract cease, appropriate alternative support is provided to those service users with on-going social care and housing needs. This will be supported by public health through a short bridging arrangement, subject to agreement by Commsortia.

“At the same time, public health is also working with wider partners and stakeholders, and will be consulting service users, to better understand the public health needs of wider vulnerable groups in Northamptonshire, with a view to developing a broader preventative offer for those most at risk of inequalities.

“It’s important that public health funding is prioritised against the areas of greatest need locally, addressing health inequalities and demonstrating value for money, as well as being fully compliant with public health grant requirements. The development of a new inequalities contract is part of an on-going improvement programme for public health.”