Home Start funding row over Devon council referrals

A Devon charity for vulnerable families which had its funding cut completely by the county council is still having cases referred to it for help.

Home Start said it uses volunteers to care for people but needs about £50,000 of "core funding each year".

It said at least four people had been referred by Devon County Council since the authority cut its funding in 2011.

The authority said it had faced budget cuts but had centres which could assist those people using Home Start.

In 2009, the charity received about £53,000 from Devon County Council but in 2011 its funding was stopped.

It has closed two branches in West and Mid Devon and the Teignbridge service is at risk.

Teignbridge Home Start said at its peak it helped 200 families a year but can now only help 20.

'Value for money'

Sally Morgan, vice chair of Home Start Teignbridge, said: "We're a worthwhile service, we can't run for free.

"We give incredible value for money because we use volunteers, all we need is some simple core funding."

Service user, Thea, from Chudleigh, said: "I had a severe case of post-natal depression so I was really grateful that Home Start was there for me every week.

"I've suffered with depression, but that was unbelievable, I wouldn't wish that on anyone."

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: "We have 43 children's centres across Devon delivering a range of services to families.

"We're working closely with the independent Home Start schemes to ensure families who have benefited from Home Start support can make use of the services our children's centres offer.

"We've faced severe budget reductions over the past two years and we've had to prioritise our resources to deliver core services that support the most vulnerable children."

Home Start is a nationwide family support charity.

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