As many of you will be aware Councils like Stockport have had substantial cuts to their budgets from central government over the past 3-4 years. They have also been given responsibility for new services and from April 2015 are required to respond in different ways to people in need as a result of the Care Act 2014.
As a result of these changes and the growing demands for health and social care services Stockport Council decided that they needed to reduce and change the way they gave money to voluntary/charitable organisations to deliver services. Over the past few months they have withdrawn funding from a number of organisations, including Stockport Mind, and put out tenders for new/different services, not specifically focused on mental health.
As a consequence Stockport Mind have lost the funding from Stockport Council for all its advocacy services (Independent Mental Health Advocacy [IMHA]); NHS Complaint’s Advocacy [NHSCA])); and Community Advocacy [CA]) and part of the mental health support services called Prevention and Personalisation (PPS) and People Powered Health (PPH).
The organisation Stockport Total Advocacy will from 1st May 2015 be providing the IMHA and NHSCA and fortunately the staff who were employed by Mind, will transfer to Total Advocacy on 1st May. The Care Act requires a new form of advocacy so some aspects of community advocacy will no longer be funded. We are working closely with staff and Stockport Total Advocacy to ensure there is a smooth transfer. Their office is at 48 Higher Hillgate on the corner (House of Cakes) just opposite the Black Lion building.
From July 1st 2015 the PPS and PPH services currently provided in partnership with a number of organisations will not be funded. A similar kind of support will be available from a new Stockport Council Commissioned service called the Targeted Prevention Alliance (TPA). This support will be delivered to a wider range of people in vulnerable circumstances, not just those who are identified/identify themselves as having mental health issues, and from a number of places (hubs) around Stockport. We will let you know more about this as the information becomes available to us.
Sadly the 3 year funding from Lloyds Bank (Charitable section) for our Debt Advice Service, also came to an end at the end of December 2014. We have continued to fund this service from our charitable reserves, whilst trying to find another funder, but have so far been unsuccessful. From April we have not been able to provide this service and our worker got a job with another organisation. We are still trying to get funding to re-start this important service.
The 3 year funding from a Charitable organisation, Lankelly Chase, to pay for a part time worker to develop services and promote access to people from Black and Minority Ethnic Communities also came to an end at the end of March and we have been unable to find replacement funding.
What does this mean for people who have used our services in the past or would want to use our services in the future?
First of all it does not mean that we have no money and it does not mean that we will be closing all our services or closing Dove House. We get a small amount of money from other funders, including individual donations and are very committed to continue to provide support to people with mental ill health.
We still have some funding from Stockport Council in an Alliance contract arrangement (Mental Health Alliance MHA) with SPARC (Stockport Progress and Recovery Centre) to provide services to people recovering from long standing, diagnosed mental health problems. Some current staff will move into new jobs in that area of service but we will have a very much smaller staff team. We also receive funding from Universities to provide social work students with supervised learning placements. This money has reduced in the past year but we plan to continue to take students whilst we are financially able to employ the staff to support them to achieve qualification in line with the requirements of the universities.
We are working on how we can raise more money from sources other than the Council so we can continue to be able to support people in mental distress.
However, we don’t now have the resources to keep Dove House open or answer the telephones 5 full days a week.
See the “Contact Us” page for details.
We will do our best to extend these hours if we are able to obtain additional funding.
Over the next few months there are likely to be changes in how we support groups and activities but there are no definite plans for this as yet.
I am very sorry that we can’t offer better news, and that there are still some uncertainties.
If you have any ideas for fundraising we would love to hear from you and if you/or someone you know is mentally unwell we will always try to help you/them and do our best to ensure that you/they get support so please do not be afraid to contact us.
Chair of Trustee Board