Charity’s aid appeal after contract blow

Help us: Jane Hugo, of Streetlife
Help us: Jane Hugo, of Streetlife
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The leader of a Blackpool-based charity which supports homeless youngsters is appealing to Gazette readers for a cash boost after its funding was cut by a third.

Following the announcement Blackpool Council was not renewing contracts with Great Places, a company which runs two centres for vulnerable people at the Foyer and William Lyons House in Blackpool, it has been revealed funding is being cut for another support charity, Streetlife.

But Jane Hugo, Streetlife chief executive, has now launched an ambitious plan to keep the centre going – with donations from the public.

Mrs Hugo said: “The council told us it was not renewing its contract at the end of this month. To counter this, we want people to help fund the centre.

“If 2,000 people a month donated £5, it would keep us going.”

Mrs Hugo said she hoped readers would set up an online standing order to support the service, which first started in Blackpool in 1992 and has a centre in Church Street, as well as a day centre in Buchanan Street.

She admitted without the cash the centre faced an uncertain future, but understood the council’s decision not to renew funding.

She said: “It is a big blow. Charities will struggle without the support of the council, but we have to understand this is happening nationally.

“The council has to make £55m of cuts. They have had to make really, really difficult decisions.”

Blackpool Council revealed it would not renew its contracts at the Foyer and William Lyons House last month.

Both centres support people who might otherwise be homeless.

Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Unfortunately, due to the cuts we are facing ourselves, we cannot continue to provide the same level of assistance to voluntary groups and charities as previously.

“I commend Streetlife for taking the initiative to look for other sources of funding. I am fully supportive of their appeal, and hope that the people of Blackpool support them.”

Coun Kath Rowson, cabinet member for adult social care, revealed the authority had a duty to ensure all services offered “the best possible value to the people who use them”.

She added two organisations, Ashley Foundation and Caritas Care, were successful in taking over the contracts, adding: “I am confident that both of these will do a similarly good job, to make sure that homeless adults continue to receive a high level of support.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the funding drive should visit www.wearestreetlife.org