The “Big Society” will anything be left after the Government cuts?

Published Date:15/08/2011

In August 2011 when details were released by False Economy of the big charity losers in the local Government cuts, Mandy Neville from Circles Network talks about her concerns about the Government ‘Big Society’ policy.

At Circles Network we agree and endorse the principle of direct community action, it has always been a cornerstone value for Circles Network. Our aim is to mobilise self action and create empowering opportunities for people.

However, current Government policy is clearly dismantling statutory support for people in real need and our fear is that the size of financial cuts administered will result in some of the most vulnerable members of each community to be cut adrift from vital support from organisations like Circles Network.

The current climate of cuts in Government funding is having a huge and devastating affect on communities. We at Circles Network worry most about people who are the most vulnerable and isolated. Individuals who can no longer get out to meet friends and access essential services, carers who are exhausted and struggling to get through each day, people who, without support, experience bullying and harassment. We are concerned about the loss of our own day services in Atherstone and Leamington which will mean that individuals will loose the stimulation and activity that they have enjoyed and the support for carers, which inevitably places a higher risk on home lives, with potentially devastating effects.

Having been in existence for 17 years, Circles Network has had the great privilege of working alongside many thousands of families and individuals. Our work has helped people make positive changes to reshape lives, using advocacy, empowerment, direct support, life coaching, networking and skill building.

The role of the voluntary sector in the UK is an important and essential one, embedded in cultural history and it is critical that charities like Circles Network continue to thrive. The charity has been hit hard especially across its projects in England and has had to taken steps to reduce its expenditure by nearly 40%. Reluctantly, this level of financial shortfall has impacted on front line services, although efficiency savings and good housekeeping have limited the reductions we have had to make.

However, enough commentators are critical of Government policy; we at Circles Network continue to lobby, but also have been proactive to seek solutions.

At the cutting edge of innovation in advocacy and support services and on the back of funding changes we have introduced a national 3D Community based support project. This pioneering approach enables us to provide direct and flexible services for people who can use a personalised budget to purchase the specific hours and tailored support that they require.

We have also just launched our 'Raise a Million' campaign which has already gathered significant momentum to make sure that we are sustainable for the foreseeable future, that we remain cutting edge in enabling people to take control of their own lives creating fulfilling and purposeful futures.  All contributions of time, skills and funding are very welcome to help us reach this ambitious target.

Editors Notes

Circles Network is a UK wide organisation based in ordinary communities, working closely to support disabled and disadvantaged people of all ages. Our work is predominantly about ensuring that people who may be isolated or marginalised become and remain included in their own neighbourhoods. Our support combats loneliness and provides people with the skills, confidence, connections and independent control to make positive changes happen in their lives.

False Economy - Read the report

Under the Freedom of Information Act, False Economy has researched and compiled details of all the charities that have been affected by the Government spending cuts.

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