Charity to stop mental health training if city council lops cash
A CHARITY will stop training Derby City Council staff to work with the mentally ill if the authority pulls its funding as part of budget cuts.
Derbyshire Voice bosses says the charity may also stop taking views from the city's mentally ill on the services they receive and passing them on to the NHS and council, and making ward visits to make sure patients are receiving good quality care.
The city council's latest budget includes a proposal to cut its £16,500 annual funding to Derbyshire Voice over the next two years as it looks to save cash.
This amounts to 8.7% of the group's funding, with the rest of the cash coming from Derbyshire County Council and the NHS.
Catherine Ingram, the charity's chief executive, said: "The city council has never been a major funder, despite receiving quite a lot of the services.
"If this funding is cut we would not continue to provide the training we do to about 30 of its social workers. Other funders would wonder why they are effectively footing the bill for this."
Ms Ingram said the training included work on how to empathise with people who have mental health problems and work with psychosis sufferers and self-harmers.
She added: "There's also nearly 200 people in Derby for whom we are a mouthpiece and that might not happen in two years' time."
The charity has put together a 4,000-name petition which it will hand in to the council against the cut.
One volunteer for Derbyshire Voice is Jonathan Norton, 51, of Normanton, who said it provided a vital service.
Mr Norton, who suffers from severe depression, represents the charity on a care forum that works to improve in-patient facilities.
He said: "There will be a reduction in the quality of service for people with mental health problems if this goes ahead."
The council needs to save £62.4 million over the next three years because of cuts in Government funding, inflation and the city's growing population.
Councillor Fareed Hussain, cabinet member for adults and health, said: "We would not expect to see a complete end to the service in Derby due to the withdrawal of this small proportion of funding."