Charity wins a rethink on cuts

Cher Sawyer

Cher Sawyer

First published in News

A STREET outreach service for homeless people has been saved at the 11th hour after Swindon Council scrapped proposals to axe a charity’s £20,000 grant.

The Conservative administration revealed in December that it planned to stop the grant to homelessness charity Threshold Housing Link, as part of a bid to close an estimated £15m budget gap in 2013/14.

At the time, Threshold’s leaders said it would threaten the service, which they believe is vital to tackle homelessness, and they met the council to make a case for retaining all or some of the funding before the full council agrees the final budget on Thursday, February 21.

Yesterday council leader Rod Bluh revealed he had scrapped the plans on the basis that the vital service worked with individuals who the council might not necessarily be aware of, and who would otherwise increase costs for the council.

He said the Conservative group would seek to amend the budget on Thursday to strike out the proposed cut and, in the meantime, they would work to save the £20,000 elsewhere.

He said: “Threshold said there’s a strong case for why the removal of that budget wouldn’t benefit the council.

“Having looked at it, we have decided it was not a safe decision.

“So I decided to reverse it and work with them over the next 12 months about what each service does and how we can work with them.

“I cannot guarantee anything going forward, given the challenges we have got.

“Nothing is guaranteed, but the fact we have listened and been persuaded by the arguments puts them in a stronger position next time around.

“It’s evidence that we do listen, that consultation isn’t a device to do what we’ve already decided.

“And sometimes it makes a difference and if people can place a strong argument, they’re listened to, they can get the right results.”

Last week, Threshold revealed to the Adver that the number of people sleeping rough in the town centre had hit an all time high, with the street outreach team reporting they were aware of 20 rough sleepers on Wednesday, January 30.

Cher Sawyer-Smith, the chief executive, said the charity presented to the council up-to-date statistics on homelessness collected by the street outreach team, plus case studies, and had also spoken to councillors of various parties and officers, who had helped their case.

She said: “This is fantastic. We have had discussions with Rod Bluh and we’ve given him updated statistics about what we find.

“And we’ve had some positive discussions with them, so the council can see our point of view and we can see theirs.”

Comments (12)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:15pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Tim Newroman says...

So, that's yet more mythical 'cuts' that aren't actually being made, then?
So, that's yet more mythical 'cuts' that aren't actually being made, then? Tim Newroman
  • Score: 0

2:24pm Fri 15 Feb 13

StillPav says...

Who actually measures that these charities and other groups are providing value for money?

£20k isn’t exactly peanuts.
Who actually measures that these charities and other groups are providing value for money? £20k isn’t exactly peanuts. StillPav
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Fri 15 Feb 13

RichardR1 says...

The trustee who is Rob Buckland
The trustee who is Rob Buckland RichardR1
  • Score: 0

2:59pm Fri 15 Feb 13

StillPav says...

Do charities have to file accounts in the same way limited compnaies do, stating directors pay?
Do charities have to file accounts in the same way limited compnaies do, stating directors pay? StillPav
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Fri 15 Feb 13

tarot says...

As a past recipeint of Threshold services, I believe they do a very important job. There are not enough places for homeless people any more because of budget cuts in the late 90s.

Davis House now Booth House only has 25 rooms compared to 120 in the old building.

Where are the homeless supposed to go?.
As a past recipeint of Threshold services, I believe they do a very important job. There are not enough places for homeless people any more because of budget cuts in the late 90s. Davis House now Booth House only has 25 rooms compared to 120 in the old building. Where are the homeless supposed to go?. tarot
  • Score: 0

6:12pm Fri 15 Feb 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

With over 50 councillors, 2 MP's and a load of union activists, I reckon collectively they would have enough spare rooms to house the 20 people sleeping rough.

Problem solved.

The conservatives could consider it their contribution to the "Big Society".

Labour and Liberal Councillors can consider it their contribution to the welfare state they want to thrown uncontrollable amount of money at.

The union activists could do something useful for a change instead on constantly moaning about cuts without putting any viable alternatives forward.
With over 50 councillors, 2 MP's and a load of union activists, I reckon collectively they would have enough spare rooms to house the 20 people sleeping rough. Problem solved. The conservatives could consider it their contribution to the "Big Society". Labour and Liberal Councillors can consider it their contribution to the welfare state they want to thrown uncontrollable amount of money at. The union activists could do something useful for a change instead on constantly moaning about cuts without putting any viable alternatives forward. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Fett says...

I do wish the Adver would stop promoting this maniacal woman and focus on the work that the frontline workers are doing.

She was given a golden handshake to get rid of her and yet she's back in another trumped up position.

Out of curiosity, does Threshold even have a street outreach service since publicly sacking the two highly respected workers?
I do wish the Adver would stop promoting this maniacal woman and focus on the work that the frontline workers are doing. She was given a golden handshake to get rid of her and yet she's back in another trumped up position. Out of curiosity, does Threshold even have a street outreach service since publicly sacking the two highly respected workers? Fett
  • Score: 0

6:32pm Fri 15 Feb 13

RICHARDPIKE says...

Makes me sick they have made this choice.
Makes me sick they have made this choice. RICHARDPIKE
  • Score: 0

2:11am Sat 16 Feb 13

SpeakUp says...

Here's an idea. We (the poll-tax-paying-publ
ic apparently have to pay for a council office for council-employee union reps that claim to represent council workers (why???). Let's use that office space to give warm overnight accomodation to the unfortunate homeless people in our own community. Money better spent, I think.
Here's an idea. We (the poll-tax-paying-publ ic apparently have to pay for a council office for council-employee union reps that claim to represent council workers (why???). Let's use that office space to give warm overnight accomodation to the unfortunate homeless people in our own community. Money better spent, I think. SpeakUp
  • Score: 0

2:14am Sat 16 Feb 13

SpeakUp says...

Alternatively, stop paying for council union reps (trade union members should pay for their own reps, we, the public, should not) and reinvest the cash in providing shelter for the homeless people of Swindon.
Alternatively, stop paying for council union reps (trade union members should pay for their own reps, we, the public, should not) and reinvest the cash in providing shelter for the homeless people of Swindon. SpeakUp
  • Score: 0

2:17am Sat 16 Feb 13

SpeakUp says...

Fett wrote:
I do wish the Adver would stop promoting this maniacal woman and focus on the work that the frontline workers are doing.

She was given a golden handshake to get rid of her and yet she's back in another trumped up position.

Out of curiosity, does Threshold even have a street outreach service since publicly sacking the two highly respected workers?
@Fett - Threshold make an effort to help those who, often through no fault of their own, are homeless. And you?
[quote][p][bold]Fett[/bold] wrote: I do wish the Adver would stop promoting this maniacal woman and focus on the work that the frontline workers are doing. She was given a golden handshake to get rid of her and yet she's back in another trumped up position. Out of curiosity, does Threshold even have a street outreach service since publicly sacking the two highly respected workers?[/p][/quote]@Fett - Threshold make an effort to help those who, often through no fault of their own, are homeless. And you? SpeakUp
  • Score: 0

8:21am Sat 16 Feb 13

Fett says...

Not that I have to answer to you, but I've worked with the homeless in Swindon for around 15 years. I do my bit.
Not that I have to answer to you, but I've worked with the homeless in Swindon for around 15 years. I do my bit. Fett
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree