The Supporting People funding enabled many charities to prevent vulnerable people becoming homeless and in 2004 the figure for Nottinghamshire was £27m. In 2011 the fund was cut by 65% and now Nottinghamshire County Council propose another cut of 35% leaving funds of just £8m in 2017.
The cuts to “Supporting People funding” will mean that the most vulnerable people in our society will be the unwitting casualties of its absence. Homeless & vulnerable people are often the most voiceless in society and now the services they so desperately need are being taken from them. The net of support that has kept them safe, given them stability or kept them from rough sleeping is rapidly disappearing.
There is overwhelming evidence that cutting these services so severely represents a false economy. For every £1 spent on “supporting people” services, £2 of public money is saved by keeping vulnerable people safe and well; reducing the need to access drug, alcohol and/or mental health services and thereby lessening the strain on the public purse.
Supporting people services are not merely “nice to have”, they are a critical provision and these short term savings will have a long term cost when the services are gone. Although the services disappear, the people that need them certainly won’t; making it almost inevitable that these, or alternative, services will need to be reinstated costing yet more taxpayers money.
As an independent organisation, SEA (Services for Empowerment & Advocacy) is working with people who want their voice to be heard. Our campaigns to affect change to budget cuts dates back to 2011 when we first launched the photographs entitled ‘Photovoices’. These enabled people to send their own message directly to those in power and we currently feature individuals who are affected by the budget cuts in Nottinghamshire. The film ‘not just pounds and pence!’ makes a powerful statement that takes the words of those most in need and delivers them directly to the decision makers.
As for what you can do:
¨ Complete the Nottinghamshire County Councils Budget Consultation -http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/thecouncil/democracy/have-your-say/consultations/budget-challenge-2014-15/
¨ Contact your local MP’s and Councillors to make them aware of your objections.
¨ Stay informed, talk to people and keep these actions on the agenda.
¨ Attend one of the letter writing workshops being run by SEA.
¨ Sign the petition on Change.org - https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/nottinghamshire-county-council-not-to-reduce-housing-related-support-services-by-4-2m-or-put-an-end-to-the-nottinghamshire-welfare-assistance-scheme
¨ Contact us to find out more.
Please remember that we are all Citizens and homelessness can happen to ANYONE – all anyone ever wants is a hand up, not a hand out.