A STARK warning has been issued by Barnardo’s and other leading care organisations that multi million pound county council cuts to support services will have a “catastrophic” effect on the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the county.
The prediction from 21 organisations highlights the tragedy it says is set to unfold on county streets, with the homeless, ex-offenders and other vulnerable people having nowhere to go and noone to turn to.
Peter Collinson, Development Manager for Barnardos in the northwest, said thousands of individuals would be affected and there would be “a detrimental impact on communities across all of Lancashire” of the decision to axe £25m from the council’s prevention and early help funding over the next two years.
A £3m safety net is being created and £10m of reserves used to fund a “transition period”.
He said: “Vital services will either be reduced in their ability to provide an effective service or in some instances cease operating altogether and close.”
Barnardos was joined by organisations including Leyland and Chorley Refuge, the Salvation Army, Safespace, Fylde Coast Women’s Aid and housing groups, Adactus, Progress Housing and Regenda in raising serious concerns. Some 1,859 people, including those with substance misuse problems, those experiencing or at risk of domestic violence, the elderly and disabled are currently helped through “Supporting People” funding.
County Coun. Tony Martin, cabinet member with responsibility for adult services said the cuts were caused by the withrawal of central Government funding and predicted: “There will be a lot more people without that safety net who might end up on the streets living in unsafe conditions; people not having the ability to move out of domestic violence relationships and all the things I think we as a humane society should be addressing are being stripped away. The cuts I am presiding over are the least worst cuts I can make to balance the books.”
Peter added there would be a knock on impact on health and accident and emergency services and increases in debt. He predicted people would be unable to take up
educational, training or employment because of a lack of a stable living environment.