Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats are welcoming a paper published today that recommends continuing funding for Chesterton’s Whitworth House for at least a further 18 months.
Cllr Ian Manning, who worked with the County, the provider Orwell Housing, as well as volunteer representatives from the Whitworth Trust and local women’s groups, welcomed the news:
“This is a fantastic example of a number of people coming together, organised by the Chair of the Whitworth Trust, recognising a problem and working together to solve it. Between us, we submitted several sets of new evidence that highlighted to the County officers aspects of the service including the unique onsite support provision, explanations for the data on move ons, and I believe really showed the value of this service to the vulnerable young women it saves.
That said, it’s something that shouldn’t have happened this way – many people were put under unecessary stress and we need to work to make sure this uncertainity isn’t repeated, and the service is given a secure long term funding deal”.
The service, for vulnerable women aged 16-24, had been threatened with closure after the County Council announced plans to withdraw Housing Related Support funding, which paid for support staff to work onsite with clients.
Cllr Manning submitted evidence collated on the uniqueness of the service, and identified key dates to give officers the time to properly consider this evidence. The provider, Orwell Housing, provided context for data gathered previously. The recommendation will go to the County Council’s Children’s committee on 21st May for approval.
“I hope the committee will approve this recommendation, and that the County have learnt the lessons of early engagement – it is my firm belief that this is a service that could be expanded and support many many more women in need.”