Children at risk after funding cut

PUBLISHED: 10:53 15 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:40 06 May 2010

PLANNED funding cuts to a charity could put children s lives at risk. Volunteers for the Hitchin-based charity Home-Start North Herts currently care for 100 local families where problems like loneliness, isolation, multiple births and clinical and post-na

PLANNED funding cuts to a charity could put children's lives at risk.

Volunteers for the Hitchin-based charity Home-Start North Herts currently care for 100 local families where problems like loneliness, isolation, multiple births and clinical and post-natal depression affect the wellbeing of children and parents.

But families in desperate need of support and friendship will be left to cope alone if Hertfordshire County Council goes ahead with its planned funding cut. That is the fear of volunteers at the charity which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

According to a spokesman for Home-Start North Herts, the charity would need to raise £16,000 in 2007, rising to £34,500 in 2008, if it is to continue providing its current level of support to families in North Herts.

Senior organiser Charmaine Rogers said: "Small donations, fundraising events and the generosity of the local community cannot be relied upon for sums that actually pay people's salaries.

"Our referrals come from health visitors, social workers and doctors but, if the funding decision is not reconsidered, the North Herts scheme will lose staff and volunteers and the number of families it helps will be halved."

A Hertfordshire County Council spokesperson said: "The overall funding for Home-Start in Hertfordshire remains the same.

"What has changed, however, is how much money goes to each scheme in Hertfordshire.

"A formula was applied to each of the eight Home-Start schemes during an evaluation which took into account costs - such as staff salaries - the number of 0 to four-year-olds in each area, the size of that area and the level of deprivation there.

"This analysis resulted in what we believe is a fair and accurate allocation based on the current situation in the county that will allow development in areas of need.


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