Latest Council cuts force mental health services to close

CROYDON IN CRISIS: The MP says the latest round of funding cuts to services provided by mental health charities is ‘devastating’. By STEVEN DOWNES

Mind in Croydon is to close two of its support services for people living with complex and long-term mental health issues, after Croydon Council cut funding for the services.

The Service d’Aide à l’Emploi, which has provided individual support and support to the inhabitants of the borough for almost 20 years, saw its funding completely withdrawn after a review of the contracts for social assistance to adults by the municipality. Employment Support Service helped its last client last week.

The specialist benefits advice and casework service has also been scrapped, although some limited services will continue until next March, after Mind in Croydon administrators stepped in to provide funding for the charities to support people already using the service who are awaiting dates for social assistance applications need to be heard.

People directly affected by the closures have already been contacted and are being supported to find other sources of help and advice.

The council cuts are part of the 2022-23 budget approved at City Hall in March this year by the then Labor-led administration. After £44.7million in cuts in 2021-22, a further £38.4million was cut from council spending this financial year, following the authority’s financial collapse in 2020.

The funding cut by the council amounts to £380,907 a year for Mind in Croydon services.

Mind in Croydon and other suppliers had bid on the council and won one-year contracts as recently as May 2021, with an option for a 12-month extension until April 2023. The council had already reduced the number of contracts he was offering in that support zone from seven to four, reducing the value of the contract by £200,000.

Through its social care service, Mind in Croydon has been able to support 1,200 people each year, with around 120 accompanied to court to ensure the right information is heard in court and a fair outcome is achieved. The Spirit of Croydon estimates that they have provided around £1.5million in additional or unclaimed cash benefits to Croydon residents each year.

“This money helps pay council tax and other bills and not only flows through Croydon’s economy but helps people stay mentally healthy, reducing costs elsewhere in the health and care system. social,” according to a source.

“Devastating closures”: MP Sarah Jones

“Our voluntary sector in Croydon is at the forefront of the fight against poverty and the impact of the cost of living crisis,” said Sarah Jones, Labor MP for Croydon Central.

“Mind in Croydon is a fantastic local charity that does a great job of supporting people with mental health issues.

“It’s devastating to hear about these closures, especially at a time like this when the rising cost of living is putting a severe squeeze on household budgets. These support services will be even more necessary. Our advice and information services in the borough risk being overwhelmed with people in need of help and support.

Philippa Mariani, chief executive of Mind in Croydon, said: ‘We are very sad that we no longer have the funding to support people looking for work or returning to work, and with their rights and benefits.

“Our services have supported many thousands of people over the years and helped people regain confidence, health and independence. This is a real blow especially as we only got the contract last year, working with our partners Croydon Mencap to improve the support we could offer people with learning disabilities and ‘autism.

“The board has been very clear with us that this decision is regrettable and in no way reflects the quality of the services we provide.

“We have looked at alternatives to closure, but without council funding our services cannot be sustained. It’s great that our board has stepped in to make sure we don’t leave people behind who are already getting help with complex welfare tribunal cases, but with the impact of covid on our public fundraising over the past two years, this may be for a limited time only.

Read more: A further £38.4m will be cut from next year’s council budget
Read more: Advisors were warned of the financial crisis months in advance
Read more: Board forced to file for bankruptcy
Read more: ‘Mistakes will be made,’ staff warn after latest round of cuts

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and their political times in London’s diverse and most populous borough. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email [email protected]

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