Shock funding decision closes advice centre
Possability People is reeling after the shock news that funding for its advice centre is being cut after receiving a letter from the CCG and Brighton and Hove City Council.
Possability People have been running their Advice Centre for 30 years and are now faced with an 85% cut in funding, meaning they will be closing their doors to people wanting help with anything relating to disability, from equipment grants and Blue Badges to bus passes, housing, help with care, food bank referrals, welfare benefits and allowances.
In 2018, the centre
• Dealt with 2200 people face to face, and
• Handled 4468 enquiries
With three part time staff and a bank of volunteers, most of whom are themselves disabled people or living with long term health conditions, the service is unique in the city because it provides a specialist service in an accessible building, for anyone with mental and physical health conditions. It also supports their families and carers as well as other professionals.
Geraldine Des Moulins, Possability People’s Chief Executive says:
“Yet again, disabled people – often the most vulnerable people in our society, are bearing the brunt of funding decisions made without any real understanding of the impact they will have. We are keenly aware of the financial pressures health and social care services are under but we can’t see how this will be a real saving as the first thing most people do in a crisis with no-where else to turn is go to their GP”.
Caroline Lucs, MP for Brighton Pavillion says:
“Possability People’s advice centre is a vital service that has supported many of my constituents to successfully challenge incorrect disability benefit decisions, and helped them to get the support they need. For NHS commissioners to pretend that there isn’t a link between health and wellbeing, and accessing timely disability benefits advice when people are in crisis and struggling to cope, is hugely short-sighted and counterproductive, as I have made clear to the CCG.
“I struggle to believe that other advice agencies in the city have the capacity fill the gap left by the closure of Possability People’s advice service. And with Possability People specialising in disability advice, I fear that many vulnerable residents in the city will be left unsupported when they desperately need assistance.”
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven says:
“I am shocked by the CCG’s handling of this matter, giving only a few weeks notice on a decision which will affect hundreds of my constituents. There are no other services in the city able to meet the needs of our disabled and vulnerable residents and I fully support the calls for the CCG to reverse this unconscionable decision”
“The Advice Centre is often the last port of call for people who find themselves in desperate situations – to have this life line taken away seems particularly cruel. We will be doing all we can to fund the Centre in the longer term, and our volunteers will help as much as they can by answering phone calls, but in the short term, the outlook for desperate disabled people is very grim”.
Possability People is a registered charity. Donatinons to the charity can be made at https://www.possabilitypeople.org.uk/donate/
Notes to editors
1. Possability People’s Chief Executive, Geraldine Des Moulins, is available for interview. Email email@example.com. to set up
2. For detailed information about the work of our Advice Centre, read our short report, Advice Centre Stories https://www.possabilitypeople.org.uk/2017/12/07/stories-advice-centre/
3. Possabilty People, together with Advice Centre clients, will be attending the full council meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council on Thursday 28 March to share their concerns.