A CHARITY which provides vital services for elderly people across the Moorlands has made a public plea for clarity over funding. Moorlands Home Link, based in Cheadle, has warned a lack of foresight during the transition to a new model of care is putting its future in jeopardy. The charity has raised concerns that changes in the NHS are having an impact on the funding it receives from the North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
And while the charity is currently ideally placed to slot into the new ‘Home First’ integrated care system – which is currently under consultation – executive manager Sharon Ball has warned the situation may drastically change before the new care model is implemented.
In an open letter to the CCGs, Sharon said: “For the past two years Moorlands Home Link has faced complete uncertainty with regards to its future.
“This uncertainty, due in part to the current financial climate of social care, has been exacerbated by a lack of communication and decisions of the CCG.
“We are constantly looking at ways of propelling our organisation forward and improving our services however, our finances are being tightened to such an extent that we now find it increasingly difficult to provide our staff with the most up-to-date training and knowledge.”
While Moorlands Home Link is reliant on a workforce of 250 highly valued volunteers, the charity also employs 23 staff members.
Donations provide important income for Home Link, but core funding from local authorities is essential to keeping the service running and able to plan for the future.
The charity runs a day centre in Cheadle as well as outreach groups in villages across the entire Moorlands alongside providing services in Leek and Biddulph.
There is also a befriending scheme, meals on wheels and voluntary transport service run from the charity’s base in Charles Street.
While contributions towards the cost of the services are made by many members, few cover the full price of the services they receive.
Sharon said: “Currently the total amount of funding we receive from the CCG is £70,000.
“That’s £1,346 a week which on average benefits 578 people including clients, staff and volunteers who are prevented from suffering social isolation, carer breakdown, malnutrition and hospital admissions.
“I must stress how precarious the position is that Moorlands Home Link currently faces and the enormous pressure this places on everyone in our organisation, especially the staff.
“I do not feel that this level of pressure is acceptable but something which has come to be expected of those of us working within the voluntary sector.
“Our passion and commitment as an organisation and as individuals must never be underestimated, taken advantage of or presumed.
“Moorlands Home Link no longer has the ability to plan for and safeguard our future. We will diligently and determinedly continue to provide our essential services to the elderly for as long as we are able. As far as everyone here is concerned it’s business as usual.”
A spokesman for the CCGs confirmed the organisation is in talks with Moorlands Home Link about future funding.
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