UTTOXETER residents are being asked to sign a petition in a bid to stop funding being pulled from a charity supporting people with mental health issues in the town.
The petition has been launched in a bid to prevent hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of crippling budget cuts by Staffordshire County Council from the Supporting People programme.
Rethink, which runs Bradley Court in Uttoxeter, is one of the charities confirmed to have its funding pulled by the authority in October, which could mean it will be forced to close its doors for good if it cannot find another source of income.
The council has recently confirmed it would be cutting around £4 million from its Supporting People fund, which distributes cash to various groups, including domestic violence victims, teenage parents and those with mental health problems.
The petition has now been launched to try and save the charities from losing the vital contracts.
It states the cut would ‘leave the most vulnerable people in our society without the necessary support to live as close to a socially responsible life as possible’.
If the petition gains 5,000 signatures then the council would be forced to reconsider the plan.
The battle to save Bradley Court, which was launched by resident Natice Duncan, has already received the backing of Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths, East Staffordshire mayor Ron Clarke, political aid Alastair Campbell, Labour parliamentary candidate Jon Wheale and mental health campaigner Dr Matt Long.
Councillor Clarke has already revealed the Labour group will be calling the council’s decision in and Mr Griffiths has sent a letter to chief executive Nick Bell and leader Philip Atkins of the council asking them to reconsider the decision.
Charities across the county which rely on the Supporting People fund, which also includes the Burton and District YMCA which supports people in the Uttoxeter area, have criticised the move but Alan White, the county council’s cabinet member for care, pledged to work with charities to explore other funding options.
He said: “We have carefully reviewed more than 200 historic contracts with around 40 different organisations and over the past few months we have consulted with organisations about the element of support we provide and the options available.
“We are working with organisations affected by these changes to explore alternative sources of support for residents where necessary.”
The petition can be viewed at www.staffordshire.gov.uk under e-petitions.