Mansfield homeless charity ‘humbled’ by support against possible closure

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A homeless charity whose future is under threat by the looming council cuts says it has been overwhelmed by the public’s response.

Framework, that provides life-changing support to the most vulnerable in Mansfield, says it has been ‘humbled and amazed’ by the strength of public support in the face of potentially devastating cuts to its services.

More than 3,500 letters of support have been received from the public, more than 4,000 signed a petition and there has been 300 personal hand-written personal accounts from people whose lives have been changed by the services under threat.

They were recently handed to Nottinghamshire County Council by the charity’s chief executive Andrew Redfern.

He said: “The response to this campaign has been wonderful. We are humbled and amazed by the depth of the public support we have received, and by the number of people who have given up their time in order to help.

“I was particularly moved by the hundreds of hand-written testimonies that have come from the people we exist to support – including many whose lives have been turned around by our work and others who are at the beginning of their journey.

“There have also been many appreciative messages from the friends and families of service users. It demonstrates very clearly the effectiveness of our work and I sincerely hope that officers and members of the council will be minded to agree.”

Nottinghamshire County Council says it needs to slash £154m from its budget in the next three years,.

Under the proposals set to be implemented April, it would almost certainly mean the closure in almost all emergency and supported housing for homeless people in the county.

It would also withdraw funding from community-based support for vulnerable people living in their own tenancies, and for crisis prevention work to avoid homelessness from occurring at all.

The council’s budget for housing-related support has been cut repeatedly since 2004 when it was £27.3m per annum. Following the The most recent reduction, it would fall another £3.5m from just £4.5m. Having managed the earlier cuts through redundancies and service re-structuring, Framework says it can no longer bridge the gap.

As part of the cuts, a 15-bedroom facility on Mansfield’s Sherwood Street looks set to close. The council’s final budget decision will be in late February. A public consultation on the cuts ended last week.