A disabled peoples organisation is set to have to

first_imgA disabled people’s organisation is set to have to close the doors of its advice centre, which has provided vital support with benefit claims to thousands of disabled people, after nearly all its funding was suddenly withdrawn by a local NHS body.Possability People has been running the advice centrefor 30 years, but it was told by Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group(CCG) that it was going to stop all its annual funding from next month.The CCG toldPossability People* that it needed to focus its “limited resources on essentialpriority areas, and services which are not already provided by either statutoryor voluntary sector organisations”.But localMPs have described the decision as “hugely counterproductive” and“unconscionable”.As a resultof the cut – which will see the centre lose 85 per cent of its funding – theservice will have to stop offering face-to-face advice and will only be able tooffer a restricted telephone helpline run by volunteers.In 2018, the centre (pictured) supported more than 2,200 people, with a total of nearly 4,500 enquiries, at a cost to the CCG of just £29,000.It is theonly accessible pan-disability advice service in the city, and as well asbenefits, offers help with issues including equipmentgrants, blue badges, bus passes, housing, social care support and food bankreferrals.It is run by three part-time staff and volunteers,most of whom are disabled people.Today (Thursday), Possability People and some of itsclients are due to attend a meeting of Brighton and Hove council to share theirconcerns and ask the local authority if it can fill the gap left by thewithdrawal of the CCG’s funding.Brighton and Hove CCG has so far declined to releasethe “robust” equality impact assessment it says it carried out into thedecision to cut the centre’s funding.It has also refused to say whether it checked if otherorganisations in Brighton had the spare capacity to cope if the centre had towithdraw its services. Geraldine Des Moulins, Possability People’s chiefexecutive, said disabled people were again “bearing the brunt of fundingdecisions made without any real understanding of the impact they will have. “We are keenly aware of the financial pressures healthand social care services are under, but we can’t see how this will be a realsaving as the first thing most people do in a crisis with nowhere else to turnis go to their GP.”She added: “We know that advice services are already over-subscribedbecause advice services in the city work closely together in partnership. “The CCG hasnot been in touch with them prior to making a decision to ask if they have anyextra capacity because the messages we are getting from them is of shock andconcern.”She said theCCG had argued that its funding duplicated services, but the Possability Peopleadvice centre “is specialist and pan impairment and is not replicated anywherein the city”. She added: “The advice centre is often the last portof call for people who find themselves in desperate situations – to have thislifeline taken away seems particularly cruel. “We will be doing all we can to fund the centre in thelonger term, and our volunteers will help as much as they can by answeringphone calls, but in the short term, the outlook for desperate disabled peopleis very grim.”The council funds several other Possability Peopleservices, and contributes about £6,000 towards the advice centre.A council spokesperson said: “We are keen to speak to PossabilityPeople as soon as possible about how the funding we have given them towards theadvice service could be utilised in the future.”But heconfirmed that the council “will not be providing replacement funding for themoney the CCG has withdrawn”.Calls on the CCG to reverse its decision have beenbacked by two local MPs, the Green party’s Caroline Lucas, and Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle.Lucas said:“Possability People’s advice centre is a vital service that has supported manyof my constituents to successfully challenge incorrect disability benefitdecisions, and helped them to get the support they need. “For NHScommissioners to pretend that there isn’t a link between health and wellbeing,and accessing timely disability benefits advice when people are in crisis andstruggling to cope, is hugely short-sighted and counterproductive, as I havemade clear to the CCG. “I struggleto believe that other advice agencies in the city have the capacity to fill thegap left by the closure of Possability People’s advice service.”Russell-Moyle said: “I am shockedby the CCG’s handling of this matter, giving only a few weeks notice on adecision which will affect hundreds of my constituents. “There are no other services in the city able to meet the needs of ourdisabled and vulnerable residents and I fully support the calls for the CCG toreverse this unconscionable decision.”Aspokesperson for Brighton and Hove CCG said: “Over 80 percent of contacts for this service are related to benefits helpand Brighton and Hove has a wide range of other community and voluntarysector services that support people with these needs.“There are also a number of both local and nationalservices that offer benefits advice and help in accessible ways. “With this in mind, we took the difficult decision toreinvest the money that would have been spent for this service into otherservices that will bring direct benefits to more people’s health needs. “This was not a decision we took lightly but we feelit is necessary to ensure we are able to continue to use public money in themost effective way and do not spend more money than we have available.”*PossabilityPeople is a DNS subscriberlast_img read more

CASTLEFORD Tigers standoff Rangi Chase has been n

first_imgCASTLEFORD Tigers stand-off Rangi Chase has been named Frontline Index Player of the Round following his outstanding performance in last weekend’s Engage Super League Round 9 victory against Salford City Reds.This is the second time that the New Zealander has claimed the Frontline Player of the Round title and the impressive 1,049 points total in Round 9 takes him to the best statistical performance so far this year, putting him in contention to claim the £1,000 cheque at the 2011 Engage Super League Man of Steel dinner.His remarkable points total, the first player to top 1,000 index points,saw Chase accumulate 159 metres, 38 carries, 4 offloads, 9 tackle busts, 4 try assists and no errors.He is joined in the Frontline Index Team of the Round, which is compiled from a mathematical model based on Opta’s analysis of all matches, by team-mates Richard Mathers and Kirk Dixon.Team of the Round regulars James Roby and James Graham from St Helens once again occupy positions and are joined by Ade Gardner this week. Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ impressive 52-32 win over Harlequins RL saw two representatives, Chris Dean and Paul Johnson, make the select.Making up the Frontline Index Team of the Round are Leeds Rhinos winger Kallum Watkins, Catalan Dragons’ Steve Menzies, Hull FC’s Danny Tickle and Harlequins RL captain Rob Purdham.Team of the Round1 Richie Mathers (Castleford Tigers) 7542 Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos) 8063 Chris Dean (Wakefield) 6834 Kirk Dixon (Castleford Tigers) 6005 Adrian Gardner (St Helens) 5836 Rangi Chase (Castleford Tigers) 1,0497 Blake Green (Hull KR) 7888 James Graham (St Helens) 6469 James Roby (St Helens) 90910 Paul Johnson (Wakefield Wildcats) 61111 Steve Menzies (Catalan Dragons) 59812 Danny Tickle (Hull FC) 59213 Rob Purdham (Harlequins RL) 622last_img read more