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Funding threat to over-55s' support group

By Herald Express  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

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A SUPPORT group for older people in Torbay says it will be crushed by a proposed 48 per cent funding cut.

Folks@home in Vaughan Parade, Torquay, has been providing outreach services for the over-55s in Torquay and Paignton since 2007.

But proposals in the Torbay Council budget for 2014-15 could mean its funding is halved.

Hazel Self, managing director, said: "This will have a significant impact on the service, clients and the wider community. Folks@home would not be viable to continue the service in its present form and large numbers of clients would be without support. The loss of this service would have a significant impact on the older population of Torbay.

"There is no other service which fulfils the remit and role of Folks@home."

Folks@home support around 175 older people a year to live at home independently. The service prevents the need for residential care placement and care packages and prevents homelessness among the elderly.

Figures show the services for older people were estimated to save Torbay £270,000 per year.

Hazel said: "This offers Torbay Council exceptional value for money for the service provided. The service is continually oversubscribed and the need outweighs current ability to supply."

The service is a floating provider under the Supporting People programme delivered by Torbay Council.

But Torbay Council is facing a £22million cut from its budget over two years.

Mayor Gordon Oliver said: "These are draft budget proposals; no final decisions have been taken which will significantly impact upon the community and the budget consultation process will continue.

"Priority where possible has been given to protecting adults and children's services, with a lower savings figure being required in those areas than for other services.

"The scale of the challenge in achieving the central government savings, which local MPs voted for, sadly means no service is immune and there have been some very tough conversations. We want to achieve a balance between the statutory services which we are required to provide by law and those residents say they value the most. There are certainly no easy answers in this budget."

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