Home-Start funding could be cut by Derbyshire County Council

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Derbyshire County Council has said financial problems could end its funding for a charity which helps vulnerable families.

Home-Start provides volunteers to hundreds of families facing difficulties as a result of illness, domestic violence or disability.

The authority said it is facing £157m cuts over the next five years and it cannot afford to keep some services.

The charity said a funding cut would have "dramatic consequences".

'Big chunk'

Kevin Gillott, deputy leader of the county council, said that no decision has yet been made.

However, he said it was fair to say the review could lead to the need for the service to be cheaper or not provided at all by Home-Start.

He said: "That's the nature of the game we're now in. You cannot make £157m of cuts without having a reduced or no service at all. I'm not saying that's the outcome in this case.

"Home-Start has provided a valuable service over the years.

"At the moment it only provides a service for half of Derbyshire and we'd want to provide the service for the whole of the county.

"Home-Start's contract is up for review which is why we've started the process."

He added that the council would meet with the Home-Start to look at alternative sources of funding available to them.

The charity said its service costs about £1,000 for every family it helps, which it says is much less than having a paid member of staff doing the work.

Steve Shinn, a trustee of Home-Start in the High Peak area of Derbyshire, said they believe around £200,000 could be cut from the budget.

He said: "In High Peak we're not wholly dependent on Derbyshire County Council funding because we do have National Lottery funding.

"That said it still forms a big chunk and to lose that would have dramatic consequences on our organisation."

Susan uses the service in Amber Valley because her children have developmental problems and says life without the service would be very difficult.

She said: "It's hard enough to juggle what I'm doing at the moment with Hilary's [Home-Start volunteer] help.

"If she wasn't helping me I'd be in a lot of trouble.

"I have to take my daughter to hospital quite a lot and just day to day things, having to watch her because of her being poorly, it's so much better that I've got the help."

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