County council’s drastic cut

PUBLISHED: 11:23 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:40 06 May 2010

For Hertfordshire County Council to suggest its drastic cut in funding for North Herts Home-Start (Comet, March 15) is a fairer share-out is disingenuous. To say, We are robbing Peter to pay Paul, would be more honest. Hertfordshire County Council can

For Hertfordshire County Council to suggest its drastic cut in funding for North Herts Home-Start (Comet, March 15) is a "fairer share-out" is disingenuous. To say, "We are robbing Peter to pay Paul," would be more honest.

Hertfordshire County Council cannot deny that these cuts will mean that from next month in North Herts the number of families with a child under five years needing support from a Home-Start volunteer will steadily reduce. These are families who, in the view of their health visitor, social workers or doctor, have a serious problem which could be alleviated or remedied with help from a carefully matched Home-Start volunteer.

Next year, as in every recent year, there will be about a hundred young families in our local community that Home-Start could help. Their problems may be through loneliness, or the burden of a multiple birth in the family, or clinical or post-natal depression. The county council's decision to cut our funding means that for fifty families their misery will continue unabated.

Next year the mother in Letchworth suffering from depression, or the young father in Hitchin at his wit's end wondering how to cope with the new triplets, will get no comfort from the county council's excuse that the cuts "will allow development in areas of need".

I note too that the spokesman for the county council chose not to say that these cuts are being imposed without any discussion with our staff or directors; that the validity of their formula is questionable or that in their own survey the North Herts Home-Start scheme proved to be the most cost effective of any scheme in Hertfordshire.

Our clients and the health-care professionals who refer families to us for support need to be aware of the facts and also of the county council's disingenuousness.

PETER JACKSON, Chairman, North Herts Home-Start

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