Charity ‘at risk’ as council cash axed

A FAMILY support charity’s days could be numbered after a local authority cut its funding.

Two members of staff at Home Start, which has helped struggling families in the city for nearly 30 years, are under threat of redundancy after Hull Council withdrew £107,000 in funds.

Without the council’s money it will be increasingly difficult to attract other cash and the charity says it could go under in a matter of months.

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The charity, which has nine paid members of staff and more than 90 skilled volunteers, estimates that its preventive work saves over £2m a year.

Senior organiser Caroline Watson said: “The volunteers have parenting experience and visit families in their own home once a week for two or three hours and support them in whatever way they feel they need. They may be socially isolated or new to the area; they may have children on the Child Protection Register or they may have a child with disabilities or they might have disabilities themselves.

“We support for any reason as long as their child is under five and they live in Hull. It might be helping a family to get to a GP or to get children immunised. The support is so flexible and wide-ranging.

“We tick a lot of the boxes that the Government say they want ticking but they haven’t given us the money – what do they want?”

Ms Watson said they would be running off their reserves from today), adding: “We will keep going as long as we can but when the reserves run out we will close. Without us the volunteers can’t continue to do the work.”

In a statement Hull Council said: “As a result of reductions in grant funding and savings the council has to make, we have had to make some difficult decisions about where to invest this money to support the people of Hull.

“Many services for children, young people and their families will be brought together through the locality model to make it easier for families to access the right kind of help when they need it.”