Cuts to Elderfriends befriending Service
It was a tremendous shock when, on the anniversary of the NHS, The Volunteer Centre received a letter from that very organisation saying that funding to our befriending service would be cut. This will have a tremendous impact on the lives of lonely and socially isolated people across our area and would seem an extremely short sighted approach. While The VC’s befriending project will suffer, we aren’t alone as every organisation in Derbyshire that relies on NHS funding will be hit and it is perhaps too soon to say what kind of long term effect that will have on the rest of our services. As manager Dave Radford pointed out, “It is the famous domino effect, as one falls then they will all follow suit, who knows when it will stop.”
A consultation meeting in Chesterfield to run through the cuts last week left everyone bemused. Dr Chris Clayton laid out the plans to the general astonishment of the voluntary sector groups in attendance. The money given to the voluntary sector in Derbyshire accounts for just 0.01% of the entire CCG budget and it would seem that voluntary organisations are being scapegoated as the CCG attempt to claw back almost 50 million.
Dave Radford, manager of The Volunteer Centre said, “I left feeling very angry, as did everyone, this is a miniscule amount of money and yet will have a profound effect on the lives of elderly and socially isolated people in the area. Rather than cut the funding of organisations they should embrace them, this is the best publicity they could have and they are turning it into the worst.”