Coun­cil fund­ing halved for youth home­less cen­tre

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH -

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

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