Funding worries for New Mills charity

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A High Peak volunteer centre fears it may have to reduce some of its services if it is hit by funding cuts.

For more than three decades the volunteer centre for New Mills and District has been making life easier for the elderly and the infirm, but now the future is uncertain as Derbyshire County Council needs to save millions of pounds due to central government cuts.

Manager Ed Mountifield said: “These are very sad and desperate times as we don’t know how much funding we will lose in September.

“Our situation is not unique and I know so many people are fighting to keep services open. To not have the funding we need would impact on so many people.”

The charity has 550 clients, 200 volunteers and last year the unpaid work they did amounted to 17,000 hours, helping people to and from medical appointments, organising social and educational activities for the over-60s and running a befriending service.

Ed and the team have already been making cuts and have reduced the part-time administration staff’s hours from 147 to 107.

He said: “This has been brewing ever since the credit crunch of 2008. The government has had to deal with a greater national debt, so has made cutbacks to county council services and that impact is now being felt by us.

“We can’t lose anymore office hours because we need people to organise the volunteers’ time, and services would have to be scaled back which would be such a shame because I know we do make a difference.”

Derbyshire County Councillor and cabinet member for adult social care, Paul Smith, said: “We don’t think we can continue to fund all these groups to the same level we have done in the past, especially if we don’t have a legal duty to do so, But we do recognise the valuable work being carried out.”

Ed added: “This is for only 18 months of funding so we may be in a very similar situation in spring 2018, so we are already looking at new ways to try and generate income to further sustain our work.”