High Peak charity could close after funding is axed

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Staff at a High Peak charity which has helped thousands of families and children are waiting to hear if they will still have jobs after Christmas.

Home Start High Peak was given the best possible score in a national inspection for its work with vulnerable families and the efficiency of its management.

But as it celebrates ten years of helping the vulnerable, Derbyshire County Council has withdrawn a major grant. This means Home Start High Peak has three months to either find £30,000 in replacement funds or be forced to cut back its services. It may be forced to close altogether.

Chairman, Neil Bent, said: “We are facing probably the most crucial three months in the charity’s history. Staff don’t know if they will have a job after March.

“This year Home Start High Peak has helped over 45 families and 79 children through difficult times in their lives, supporting them at crucial moments when, often, statutory services and other charities couldn’t or wouldn’t.

“Ninety-three pence in every pound spent by Home Start High Peak goes directly to services for families.

“We’ve been able to do more for less, stretching our resources even further to offer funders terrific value for money, but more importantly to ensure families have a brighter future.

“We’ve been living on borrowed time and we’re hoping we can convince some funder somewhere that we’re worth backing.”

In the past decade the charity had achieved a 100 per cent rating in Home-Start UK’s rigorous quality assurance scheme, helped 1,164 families and nearly 3,000 children.

Founding trustee, Jane Farley, said: “These are people on the edge. People are thanking us because without our support they would have killed themselves or damaged their children.”

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “We’re having to review every service we deliver in light of a £157m shortfall in our budget over four years, mainly caused by reductions in Government grants.

“We stopped funding four Derbyshire HomeStarts from 31 July 2014, following an extension to their original contracts to give them time to make transitional financial arrangements.

“HomeStart High Peak has provided a valuable service over the years and it is disappointing to hear it is struggling to find alternative funding.”

Can you help? Contact Neil on neil@ablecommunications.co.uk or contact Home Start High Peak.