A charity that provides life-changing support to homeless, vulnerable and excluded people says it has been ‘humbled and amazed’ by the strength of public support in the face of potentially devastating cuts to the services it provides.
In its initial budget proposals for the three years from April 2014, Nottinghamshire County Council outlined plans that would result in the closure of almost all emergency and supported housing for homeless people in the County. It would also withdraw funding from community-based support for vulnerable people living in their own tenancies, and for crisis prevention work to avoid homelessness from occurring at all.
Framework has labelled the proposals as “devastating, unfair and catastrophic” because they would force the closure of four vital emergency accommodation centres and fatally undermine its prevention work with those at risk of homelessness and other crisis events. Those affected would include people with serious mental health issues and learning disabilities, substance misusers, victims of domestic violence, care leavers and people leaving the forces. In response to the proposals Framework launched a campaign just five weeks ago to highlight the value of the work it does and canvas support for its retention.
On 16th January, Chief Executive Andrew Redfern, supported by service users, presented to the County Council an total of:
· 3,500 Letters of support from members of the public
· Petitions signed by more than 4,000 people
· More than 300 personal and moving hand-written personal accounts from people whose lives have been changed by the services under threat.
Mr. Redfern said: “The response to this campaign has been wonderful. Indeed we are humbled and amazed by the depth of the public support we have received, and by the number of people – from inside and outside the organisation – who have given up their time in order to help.
“I was particularly moved by the hundreds of hand-written testimonies that have come from the people we exist to support – including many whose lives have been turned around by our work and others who are at the beginning of their journey. There have also been many appreciative messages from the friends and families of service users. It demonstrates very clearly the effectiveness of our work and I sincerely hope that Officers and Members of the Council will be minded to agree.
“I would like to thank everybody who has supported the call to ‘Think Again’. It has been an effective and dignified demonstration that the Nottinghamshire public does want its resources used to help most vulnerable people. I know that elected Members want to do what is best for the county and am sure the strength of feeling will resonate with them.”
The Council’s formal consultation period into its proposed budgetary plans has now come to a close. Officers will now spend time digesting the public’s feedback before preparing a final budget proposal to be voted on by elected members on 27th February.