Uncertainty still remains over the future funding of some Northamptonshire day care centres after the leader of Northamptonshire County Council refused to give the voluntary sector assurances this morning (November 21).
Time is now ticking as the £1.6m social wellbeing contract will end for a dozen county organisations in March – however as yet although they have been promised interim funding, the amounts to come to each organisation have not been decided.
Today at the full council meeting the council opposition attempted to find out whether the funding would remain the same, but despite a number of questions by different councillors neither leader Cllr Matt Golby or cabinet member for adult social services Cllr Ian Morris gave an answer.
The ending of the three year funding – which is administered by organisation Commsortia on behalf of the council – has caused much concern in the county with a number of voluntary organisations, such as Age UK, saying that a funding reduction could even force some county branches to close.
Cllr Morris did commit to interim funding but did not mention any firm figures.
He said: “It is up to Commsortia how they are going to run the contract and how the contract value is distributed and NCC is not involved in that.
“We do take this very seriously. This is public health funding and has to meet public health.
“We want funding to continue as much as the opposition do.”
And Cllr Golby accused the opposition of playing politics with the issue.
Speaking before the councillors Deepa Bakrania, centre manager from Dostiyo – a centre that provides day centre services for Asian women in Northampton – said the organisation had lost 40 percent of its funding over the past five years and could not take any more.
She said: “Sixty women use our services each day. They will have no place to go, no place to socialise. We support them to be part of the community and we teach them the language.
“All this will be lost because we won’t be able to survive any cut at all.”
Labour councillor Winston Strachan said he had been ‘bombarded’ with letters from residents who were concerned about the services being affected.
Fellow Labour councillor Danielle Stone said she did not want to see a funding cut affect the voluntary sector in the way the cuts to youth funding had impacted the county.
She said: “We need to be really vigilant in the protection of our voluntary sector.”
Cllr Jim Hakewill (Ind) said: “This contract has been up for renewal for three years. Three months away and we are telling these organisations we dont quite know what we are doing. They will be sitting there and wondering how they move forward.”
A motion put forward by Cllr John McGhee from the Labour group asking the Conservative administration to commit to keeping the funding level the same after March was amended by the councillors, to the fury of Cllr McGhee who said the changes negated the amendment.
In the end the amended proposal was agreed without the financial reassurance.
Earlier this month Cllr Morris told the Local Democracy Reporting service the funding would go to the December cabinet for final agreement.