How we use Cookies

Step by Step services hit by council funding withdrawal

Homelessness charity's chief executive "desperately disappointed" at having to end some of its services

A vital chunk of a charity's services for young people facing homelessness will be forced to close down due to funding cuts by Hampshire County Council.

Step by Step, based in Crimea Road, Aldershot, helps those facing homelessness by offering four steps towards living independently and it has confirmed that it is in the process of closing down its step three and four services.

These comprise accommodation in Mills House, Aldershot, flats dotted around Rushmoor and tenancy support for clients in these and privately rented flats.

It comes after the council withdrew £4m from its spending on supporting vulnerable people.

Although the Rushmoor insisted that no final decision would be made until July, clients in the affected accommodation - which supports up to 36 people at a time - are already being helped to find alternative places to live, with the charity’s services ending as early as September.

The step process gradually allows clients to gain stability and independence as they move from shared and supported accommodation in the charity’s headquarters, through to renting their own flats with occasional visits from support workers.

The funding cuts, announced in February’s budget report, were said to be necessary due to increasing demand for social care from Hampshire's ageing population and a 43% reduction in funding it receives from central government.

Some savings will be made this financial year, while others will come into effect in 2015/16.

Step by Step chief executive Amanda Dubarry
"We will be looking at finding a new model for young people requiring lower levels of support going forward" - Amanda Dubarry
 

Step by Step chief executive Amanda Dubarry said: “We are desperately disappointed to be losing this very effective provision after so long.

“Mills House was opened four years after the charity's first service started and has been running very successfully for 17 years.

"We will be looking at finding a new model for young people requiring lower levels of support going forward.”

No members of staff at the charity will be made redundant.

The loss of the Supporting People funding is part of £95m of savings being made by the council by 2015.

This represents a 12% saving, and senior management jobs will be reduced while community safety officers known as ACSOs will be taken off the streets.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, executive member for adult social care and public health, said: “People's needs and expectations are changing and we have to ensure that we have the right balance of services available that allow us to provide care for the growing number of people with complex needs.

“The Supporting People programme is one element of the prevention and early intervention work to support vulnerable adults and young people with lower level needs to live independently.

"We’re reviewing services funded via this budget to ensure they are being delivered in the best way so that they can remain sustainable for the future.”

The council is continuing to invest in other services that promote independence such as telecare, meals-on-wheels and village agents.

 

Journalists

James Chapple
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Laura Nightingale
Yateley Reporter
Natalie Garland
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Fergus McEwan
Community & Schools Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
Full newsroom contact details
Tell us what's happening in your area