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28 September 2016

Concerns about funding of life-changing Supporting People Programme

There are growing fears that funding could be cut for some of Wales’s most vulnerable people.

Plaid Cymru AM, Bethan Jenkins, is raising these concerns in the Senedd today (Wednesday, 28 September). There is significant concern about the future financing of the Supporting People Programme, and Plaid Cymru is asking Welsh Government to protect it from any financial cuts during the current Assembly term.

Community Housing Cymru (CHC) and Cymorth Cymru says the Supporting People programme is vitally important to more than 60,000 people a year at risk of homelessness and isolation. This includes victims of domestic abuse, as well as people with mental or physical health problems and learning disabilities, ex-service personnel and older people. More than 750,000 lives have been transformed since its inception in 2004.

The organisations launched the Let’s Keep on Supporting People campaign after funding was reduced two years ago. They are concerned that there could be further cuts in the Welsh Government draft budget, on Tuesday, October 18.

Stuart Ropke CHC’s Chief Executive said: "The Supporting People programme funds services which are invaluable to the most disadvantaged in our communities. In the long term it reduces demand on other services, saving money for health and social services. We understand that the Welsh Government acknowledge the value of this fund. It protected it last year, but times are still uncertain and we hope it will do so again."

Cymorth Cymru’s Director Auriol Miller said: "This funding keeps people safe and independent. It is one of the most life-changing programmes in Wales and must be saved. It costs on average just £46 a week to support each person on the programme - this isn’t a great deal of money to help the most vulnerable people in our society. And the costs it saves as a result are huge."

One of those helped by the Supporting People Programme is 50 year-old Tina of Blaenau Gwent.

After being helped by Women’s Aid to escape an abusive relationship, she found herself homeless and was sofa-surfing between four different family members and friend’s homes.

Linc Cymru’s SP funded Older Person’s Support Service worker Lea Grubb helped Tina with support around benefits and running her own home.

Lea said: "I will continue to support Tina until she is settled and is able to live independently. It has been deeply rewarding to see the difference it’s made to her life. These are the kind of positive results which Supporting People is all about."