Pledge to continue funding for blind and deaf services for another 12 months

Northamptonshire County Council's cabinet has agreed to extend funding for 12 months
Northamptonshire County Council's cabinet has agreed to extend funding for 12 months

Northamptonshire County Council will continue its £70,000 funding for two services that assist blind and deaf people for a further 12 months.

A four-week consultation by the council asked service users what impact cuts to Northamptonshire Association for the Blind (NAB) and DeafConnect would have on them, with the feedback being that the services significantly helped to reduce levels of social isolation and escalating health needs.

The NAB service includes advice, guidance and support to help users cook safely and get out and about for shopping.

And DeafConnect helps deaf and hard of hearing adults to continue to live independently in their own home, with their family or carer and offers advice, support, and access to specialist equipment and interpreting services.

Raelene Hill lost her eyesight rapidly, and hugely values the service that NAB provides to her.

She travelled from Kettering to One Angel Square, alongside her guide dog, to tell councillors: “I would not be here without these services.

“The thought of the funding cuts, even though there might be a reprieve this year, is leading to people losing sleep over this because it’s really a big thing for people who have lost their sight.

“I want you to have an understanding of how big the NAB services are for us, and I’m amazed at the services they provide. I gather it’s not the biggest contribution from the council, but it means so much. I’m petrified of losing it.”

Cabinet member for adult social services, Councillor Sandra Naden-Horley, said the consultation was ‘more about the outcomes that they achieve’.

She said: “It’s good to look at whether these organisations are the best to be delivering these services going forward. The consultation was comprehensive and we have opted to continue the services for the next 12 months.

“We are not stopping the funding, we are going to continue it and hopefully when the unitary authorities come along they will have a big impact in terms of involvement and funding.”

Labour county councillor Anjona Roy added: “It’s really positive that the decision has been taken to extend the funding for these two essential organisations.”