High Peak volunteer service say help for elderly and vulnerable will ‘disappear’ due to council’s 44 per cent funding cut

High Peak Community and Voluntary Support (CVS) say a 44 per cent cut in funding by the county council will have a ‘massive impact’ on vulnerable people in the borough.

Derbyshire County Council plans to slash funds to the CVS from its current £73,000 to £41,000.

High Peak CVS uses the money to help with funding and training for voluntary groups who support eldlerly, isolated and vulnerable people.

The organisations they help run advice centres, home comfort services, discount furniture projects, lunch clubs, befriending for the isolated and lonely, food banks, and support for those with dementia and learning disabilities.

Owen Russell, middle, of Glossop Men’s Gang and Kath Sizeland, right, of Chapel Mobile Physiotherapy Service, receive awards for their services to the community from High Peak CVS' trustee Karen Rigg at its AGM

James Bromley, CEO of High Peak CVS, says without their support many of the 350 vital voluntary groups across the High Peak will disappear.

The plans are subject of a county council consultation which ends on Thursday April 30 at midnight and James is urging people to give their views on the proposals before it is too late.

James said: “This will have a massive impact because we’re the first port of call for support - whether that’s providing funding or training.

“Without this funding we would not be here and there’s no-one else to go to for funding - not even the National Lottery.

James Bromley, CEO of High Peak CVS

“This will affect any community group supporting everything from people with mental health issues to those struggling with isolation and disabilities.”

James told how if the funding cut went ahead High Peak CVS’s capacity to help volunteers starting new groups with help understanding legal and financial structures and finding funders would be drastically reduced.

While established groups would now struggle finding funding in the future.

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High Peak CVS say 350 community groups are under threat by council cuts

He added: “Both new and established groups will start to fall away.”

However James has criticised the county council for its timing - as the consultation was announced in February just as the Covid-19 outbreak was beginning to worsen.

He said: “This was not the best time to ask people to engage with this - we asked for it to be postponed last month but that hasn’t happened.

“We’ve been at capacity supporting people struggling during the lockdown and have not been able to get out into the community and explain it to people.

“It all feels a bit wrong really - whatever happens in the next few days the number of people responding to this consultation is not going to be comprehensive.”

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “The local voluntary and community sector plays a vital role across Derbyshire supporting the county council’s work and we value their commitment.

“That’s why we’re looking to develop a fairer, more consistent way of allocating funding to help create a sustainable infrastructure network to help support the council’s ambitions and priorities.

“Before the consultation began we talked to infrastructure groups and worked with our partners in the NHS and districts and boroughs to find out what they need from us.

“Following these discussions we came up with some ideas on how we could support their work to make it more sustainable and launched the 12-week consultation on proposals for future funding arrangements – we wrote to all the providers inviting them to give their views.

“When the consultation ends this week we’ll take into account all the representations that have been made to us - including any calls for an extension or suspension of the consultation - when we consider our next steps.

“We’d like to reiterate that we’re still at the consultation stage and no decisions have been taken yet.

“The current pandemic shows just how important voluntary organisations are to life in Derbyshire and this will be taken into account as we look at the responses and decide how we move forward.”

The council’s consultation ends on Thursday April 30 at midnight.

To have your say click HERE.

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