Stockport Express

Fears for disabled group’s funding


THE manager of a Stockport voluntary organisati­on on the verge of becoming the third to close this year predicts more will follow because of funding cuts.

Connect, a part of Disability Stockport that organises social activities for disabled adults, has already seen cash from the council fall and will lose it altogether in September.

It needs around £30,000 annually and around 40 volunteers have started a Facebook campaign to raise money and awareness of how vital its services are.

Already this year charity Family Link has shut and the Stroke Associatio­n has closed its Stockport advice and support services after council budget cuts.

Tony Williams, service manager at Connect, said: “For a lot of people it is their only chance of a social life, they will all need some sort of support when they go out.

“People are concerned if we close they just won’t go out.

“It is down to cuts to the council from central government. Unfortunat­ely even though organisati­ons go, the need for them doesn’t.

“A vibrant voluntary sector has never been more vital. But we would be the third and there is likely to be others.”

Connect, based at High Street, in Stockport town centre, received £29,000 a year from the council until March. It was then given around £11,500 to last until September this year but there is no more.

It began 20 years ago and helps between 40 to 60 people, providing activities including day trips, quizzes, bowling, social pub trips and bingo.

Volunteers are now desperatel­y trying to fundraise and find an alternativ­e income source.

Family Link, also based on High Street, had been running for 32 years offering support to parents and families.

The council told the Stroke Associatio­n in December it would be stopping funds for its informatio­n, advice and support service and communicat­ion support service this year.

Councillor Keith Holloway, executive member for supporting adults, said: “Disability Stockport is one service amongst a range which are being recommissi­oned through a competitiv­e process, in light of reduced government funding.”

He added that advance warning had enabled some organisati­ons to make successful bids for alternativ­e funding.

To find out more search for ‘Help Save Connect’ on Facebook.

 ??  ?? Tony Williams, inset, says Connect, a social group for people with disabiliti­es in Stockport, is in danger of closing
Tony Williams, inset, says Connect, a social group for people with disabiliti­es in Stockport, is in danger of closing

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