A MEDICAL funding body has made a u-turn on scrapping funding for a Moorlands charity – amid the current coronavirus situation. The Times & Echo reported earlier last month that 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 was under threat - along with additional funding for five other similar organisations in Stoke-on-Trent. Moorlands Home Link, which is a not for profit elderly care charity based in Cheadle, 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 had been guaranteed until June 2020.
However, on its “Reviewing Small Grants and Contracts’ webpage, the two CCGs stated earlier in March that Moorlands Home Link, along with other organisations, fell outside the responsibility of the CCGs, and that: “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 not be continued or changed.”
Last month, Executive manager at Moorlands Home Link, Sharon Ball, made an appeal, through the Times & Echo, for people to take part in a CCG survey regarding the review with the aim of overturning the decision to scrap the £70,000 funding for the charity.
However, now the North Staffordshire CCG has confirmed that the funding will continue until next year due to the current coronavirus situation.
A spokesman for the North Staffordshire CCG told the Times & Echo this week: “As the country continues to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic, the decision has been made to extend all contracts and grants until the end of March 2021.
“As such, the involvement exercise which had been taking place has been postponed until a later date and we will keep organisations informed.”
Mrs Ball said of the u-turn by the CCG: “Following a number of emails and telephone conversations about the CCG funding for Moorlands Home Link I finally received a letter on April 1 from the North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent CCG to say that, in recognition of the pressures now being placed on all services including the services provided by the voluntary sector, the grant funding for Moorlands Home Link will be rolled over at the current amount until March 31, 2021.
“The CCG have recognised the huge part organisations such as Moorlands Home Link have to play in supporting some of the most vulnerable members of the community and how quickly we can respond and mobilise support in such unprecedented times.
“We were very surprised to receive this communication, however it is very welcome news for our organisation especially during this very difficult time for all of our clients, managing trustees, staff and volunteers.”
Moorlands Home Link has now also been designated as a ‘trusted partner’ by Staffordshire County Council (SCC) to help provide support to the Cheadle area as part of VSCE sector partnership working with SCC and its Covid 19 response plan.
Mrs Ball added: “The current health crisis has led to a fall in income for a lot of businesses, the self employed and charities including ourselves.
“Following the issuing of government guidance for all over 70 to self-isolate, Moorlands Home Link took the very difficult decision to suspend our day services for older people across the whole of the rural Staffordshire Moorlands from Friday, March 20.
“Alongside many other charities this situation has brought about an immediate drop in our organisations income.
“We are continuing to provide approximately 120 meals each week to older people in Cheadle and the local area and we envisage that during this period of self isolation for many older people this number may increase.
“We are also providing our existing 350 clients and volunteers with regular safe and well telephone checks now that they are in isolation.
“Our one to one face to face Befriending service has been switched to weekly calls to clients by telephone.
“We will continue to offer these much needed support services for as long as we can, and we continue to need and appreciate the valued support of the local community.”
If anyone is able to make a donation at this time to Moorlands Home Link, Mrs Ball and her team would be most grateful. Donations can be made via facebook.com/moorlandshomelink or the organisation’s fundraising page on Virgin Giving.
If anyone would like further information about any of the charity’s current services including meals on wheels, telephone advice or support, they can contact the office on 01538 750511.
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