Family charity in Northampton set to negotiate future

A charity which sends in volunteers to help families with young children in Northamptonshire will hold talks over its future when funding ends.

Northamptonshire HomeStart has funding until September but faces an uncertain future due to government cuts.

The charity has 54 volunteers and supports 80 families a year. It employs two full-time members of staff.

Manager Bernie Barnes said she was hopeful of the charity's future and would be negotiating funding.

She expressed concern that with the cuts there would be less money available but wanted to reassure clients she would do what she could to stay open.

Ms Barnes said: "The future for HomeStart is that we have confirmed funding until the end of September and we will then be entering into negotiating discussions."

Much needed help

Lianne Johnson's eldest son Robbie has severe cerebral palsy and her family has had years of support from HomeStart Northampton.

She said: "I dread to think where I would be without it - sometimes it would be the only time in a week when I leave the house.

"Things like the family shop would have been impossible because you can't push a wheelchair and a buggy and manage a baby as well."

The voluntary sector faces funding cuts as part of the government spending review, because less money is being channelled through councils.

The Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, David Rufley, said: "There isn't going to be an emergency bail-out like in the Eurozone countries.

"The voluntary sector is going to have to find cost savings from the back office and weather the storm to better days when there's more public spending when the economy picks up."

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