Stoke & Staffordshire

Moorlands Homelink 'under threat' from funding changes

A charity which provides care for elderly people in the Staffordshire Moorlands has said it could close due to county council funding changes.

Moorlands Homelink runs day centres, clubs and a home visiting service.

The council is bringing in a funding system that would see money given to individuals, rather than groups, who then choose services to buy.

The charity said that would force it to charge for its services, which could leave up to 500 people "isolated".

Manager Helen Wainwright said: "There's a lot of people we provide services for who won't qualify for these personal budgets.

"We have been told we would have to charge them to run the service, which could cost anything between £15 and £25 a day, and people just can't afford that.

"That's going to leave a lot of people we help lonely and isolated."

An action group set up to campaign for the future of Homelink will hold a meeting in Leek on Wednesday.

Staffordshire County Council currently gives the charity £142,000 which accounts for one third of the group's running costs.

'More choices'

It said it would help Homelink adapt to the new personal budgets scheme and services would not disappear.

Councillor Matthew Ellis, who has responsibility for adults and wellbeing, said: "I'm not going to abandon Homelink, I want to work closely with them to find a resolution.

"There's no way we will allow services to disappear but there are new services that are developing in the Moorlands which may be a little bit different to Homelink that are using the new payment system that I know are attracting some people to go to them."

"The system is to offer people more choices and to give them the financial support they need so they can choose the services that are right for them," he added.

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