A MUCH-VALUED service in the Moorlands is calling on members of the community to take part in a survey in a bid to help the organisation from folding. Following a review by the North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Clinical Commissioning Group, an annual grant of £70,000 which is awarded to Moorlands Home Link is currently under threat - along with additional funding for five other similar organisations in Stoke-on-Trent. Moorlands Home Link, as a not for profit elderly care charity, has received this funding for over 20 years for its Day Centre in Cheadle and the organisation's Outreach Groups across the Moorlands and the current funding has been guaranteed until June 2020.
On it’s “Reviewing Small Grants and Contracts’ webpage, the two CCGs have stated: “As NHS organisations look to make the best use of NHS resources, commissioners at North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Stoke-on-Trent CCG were asked to review all contracts and grants to ensure they were still fit for purpose in terms of meeting the health needs of the local population and that they were value for money.
“During this initial process, a number of contracts or grants which fall outside the responsibility of the CCGs were identified.
“These were presented to the CCGs’ Clinical Cabinet on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 and a review programme project was initiated.
“The outcome of the review process was that five of these contracts were found to not be the statutory responsibility of health to commission with a recommendation that these should be not be continued or changed.
“This is a recommendation from the review process and not a final decision, any decision can only be made by each CCGs Governing Body.”
The webpage then lists the five contract or grant receiving organisations as: ASIST BME Advocacy Service, YMCA Health Zone, Saltbox, Beth Johnson Dementia Advocacy Service, as well as Moorlands Home Link, which is based in Cheadle and has 25 staff and 200 volunteers.
Executive manager at Moorlands Home Link, Sharon Ball, has told the Times & Echo that she is very concerned about the proposals to axe the CCG funding for Home Link.
She said: “We have provided services to the elderly for 34 years and currently support 200 older people each week to remain in their own homes for as long as is practicable.
“Should the grant award be withdrawn, Moorlands Home Link will no longer be able to provide supportive services to older people and their families in the rural Staffordshire Moorlands.
“The current situation is of grave concern to all of the clients, managing trustees, staff, and volunteers involved with the organisation.”
Sharon is now urging members of the public to take part in a survey which is being carried out by the CCGs who are asking people for their experiences of these services to “understand the real impact they have on people’s health.”
The CCG webpage focusing on the survey states: “During an eight-week period of engagement, service users, providers and other stakeholders will be invited to share their views.
“This will be done though a number of methods from an online or printable survey, talking to people who use these services, providers of similar services and other local stakeholders with an interest in the particular area.
“The feedback will be analysed and presented to the Governing Bodies later in 2020 to assist them in making a final decision.”
The Times & Echo contacted the CCGs for comment about the funding for Moorlands Home Link. A spokesman said: “North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Stoke-on-Trent CCG have been reviewing all contracts and grants to ensure they were meeting the health needs of the local population and that they were value for money.
“During an initial process a number of contracts and grants were found to fall outside the responsibility of the CCGs were identified and we are now engaging with the providers and people who use these services to understand their experiences.
“No decisions have been made.”
Sharon, who has been involved with Moorlands Home Link for 15 years and has been the manager for five years, is keen to see as many people as possible get behind the organisation by taking part in the survey. She said: “We are urging all members of the public to provide support to our organisation by completing the survey provided by the CCG, either online or on paper, which will provide vital information to support the continuation of the grant.
“If you are able to offer your support to this vital community organisation the survey is open until April 26 and we have been made aware that a final decision will be made after this date.”
The survey, which opened on March 2, can be found online at http://bit.ly/contractsgrants and Moorlands Home Link will be making paper copies available.
Sharon added: “Letters of support would also be gratefully appreciated and may be delivered to our office along with the completed paper surveys.”
For further information, copies of the survey or to offer your support for Moorlands Home Link pop into the office at 17 Charles Street in Cheadle, call 01538 750511 or email office@ moorlandshomelink.co.uk.”
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