Council funding halved for youth homeless centre
THE amount of beds at the town’s only youth homeless centre has been slashed in half after council cuts.
Watermill House, in Macclesfield, has 10 flats for young homeless people aged between 16 and 24 years old.
But council bosses have announced its funding will be reduced from £142,000 to £75,000.
This means the centre, run by charity P3, will only have five funded beds, with the other five beds only available to young people who can pay rent from benefits.
Cheshire East Council had previously announced it was going to pull all the funding for the homeless centre and staff had started making arrangements to close at the end of March, fearing young people would be forced onto the streets by the closure.
But in a dramatic U-turn this week, the council has announced the centre would not be closed, but would receive a reduced funding.
Bill Smith, service coordinator, said while it is good news the centre will remain open, the reduction in beds will still have a big impact on Macclesfield’s young people.
He said: “It’s been a period of uncertainty for everyone here so it’s a relief that we will not have to close the centre, but this is still a drop in the service we can offer.
“It’s good that we are still able to offer beds but there will still be a still be impact on young people in Macclesfield.”
The hostel for young people first opened on Glegg Street 25 years ago, run by Macclesfield Accommodation Care and Concern (MACC), before Watermill House was built on the same street to meet demand.
Keith Taylor from MACC said: “Macclesfield people are sometimes surprised at the idea of anybody being homeless in their town.
“Unfortunately family breakups push youngsters out of homes and could be sleeping on sofas. Support in a home like Watermill House gives them a chance to stabilise their lives.”
Roz Price, operations manager for the charity P3, said they are delighted to have come to an agreement which means Watermill House can continue to provide a service.
Cheshire East Council did not respond when asked by the Express why the funding was being cut but instead issued a statement by Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member for children and families.
In it, she said: “This Council is committed to providing support for our most vulnerable residents, so I am pleased to announce that we have secured funding from within the existing budget to ensure five units of accommodation will continue to be provided at Watermill House for vulnerable young people, including those leaving care.”
●● Watermill House homeless centre in Macclesfield will remain open with reduced funding