THE ‘lifesaving’ services provided by a South Derbyshire charity have been praised by users ahead of a move which could see them cut drastically.
A survey was conducted among people who have used the services of Home-Start South Derbyshire, with all those who responded reporting a positive experience with the organisation, which provides support for young families in the area.
But despite the clearly valued services which are provided by staff and volunteers based within the organisation, budget cuts Derbyshire County Council could see funding slashed severely, and services dramatically reduced.
The survey, conducted by Able Communications, looked at the impact of all Home-Start schemes in the county.
A number of families were interviewed in each area about their experiences.
In South Derbyshire, respondents spoke of how contact with volunteers had helped to improve their confidence and put families in touch with other people who could help.
One said the support they had received from Home-Start ‘literally saved my life,’ while another said they ‘would have been lost’ without it.
Last year, the service supported 109 families and 263 children.
Staff saw a 16 per cent increase in the number of referrals received from health visitors and children’s centres.
Yet they say they are scared they could lose up to 70 per cent of their funding following a consultation into family services.
Tracey Harris, who manages the Newhall-based family service, told the Mail: “Home-Start South Derbyshire is clearly needed, not just by families but local agencies as well.
“Home-Start South Derbyshire has a very good working partnership with local agencies, which in turn produces positive and successful results.
“We understand the council has to make cuts, but feel our service is one of the most cost-effective in the area, as we recruit and train parent volunteers to visit families on a weekly basis.”