Voluntary groups face health cash crisis as axe falls

Dean Clough F Mill, Halifax, home of NHS Calderdale.
Dean Clough F Mill, Halifax, home of NHS Calderdale.
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Vulnerable people could miss out on vital mental health support after funding for more than a dozen voluntary organisations was withdrawn, it is feared.

Community groups which provide support including counselling and therapies face losing their funding from the cash-strapped NHS.

Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has announced it will cease funding 14 of the groups.

The CCG, which is struggling to meet government financial targets, said it must slash £5m from next year’s budget.

Among the affected groups is Noah’s Ark Centre, which helps hundreds of children and adults with problems like anxiety, family breakdown, depression and money worries.

Funding and development manager Andrew Sykes said: “The immediate impact is we’ve had to close to new referrals.

“The concern for us and other organisations is the service users. What’s going to happen to children when they fall through the cracks in services?”

Counselling by Noah’s Ark helped almost 1,000 school children between May 2015 and May 2016, according to the Calderdale Local Transformation Plan (LTP), which set out how public and voluntary organisations would work together to improve young people’s wellbeing.

In a statement Calderdale CCG said: “We are clear that our investment has delivered significant benefits for both individuals and the wider community, but due to significant budgetary pressures imposed on us, will not be able to make further awards in the immediate future.

“We’re being forced to make painful decisions and take steps which feel completely at odds with our commitment to provide accessible, person-focussed care in the community, under our Care Closer to Home initiative.”

Other groups affected include X-PERT Health, Women’s Centre, Turning Point Brighouse, Northpoint Wellbeing, Incredible Aqua Garden, Homestart Calderdale, Calderdale disability Advice Resource Team, Christians Together Calderdale, Unique Ways, Citizens Advice Calderdale, Barnardos and Healthy Minds Calderdale.