Work will carry on vows charity

First published in News

AN Andover charity that has been running since 1995 and is largely subsidised by Hampshire County Council is to lose all of its local authority funding on 1 April – but it has vowed to carry on.

Neighbourcare, which has its offices in Union Street, offers a wealth of services to the community and has a client base of about 3,000 elderly and needy people.

However, despite losing £82,000 a year in C o u n t y H a l l funding the organisation is hopeful that its services will remain and further cash will be found.

Manager Pam Delderfield said that this will be achieved by the five part-time staff taking a pay cut and the 80 volunteers working extra hours.

She said: “We will be changing the way we work. We are not going to recoup all that money through fundraising and donations but we will try as best we can.

Extra fundraising and introducing admin charges and a membership scheme has also helped with the shortfall.

The organisation – which was started thanks to a Comic Relief grant funding the first two years of Mrs Delderfield’s work – will carry on receiving a £10,000 grant from Test Valley Borough Council, which also pays the rent for its community shop.

Although the cut will force Neighbourcare to increase its admin fees by 50p per journey for transport and £1 a week for Handy Helpers, these increases should not be passed on to the service users.

Mrs Delderfield said: “It has been a much appreciated service and we are all determined that it will continue.

“We are positive that we will hopefully carry on and everybody will have to change with whatever happens.”

County councillor Felicity Hindson, executive member for adult social care, said: "Hampshire County Council is not currently providing Andover Neighbourcare with any grant funding.

“Andover Neighbourcare applied for grant funding for 2013/14 but was unsuccessful.

The main grants programme was heavily oversubscribed and this extreme pressure on funding meant that we had to prioritise applications.

“However, I would like to emphasise that we have continued to support the Good Neighbours Support Service.

This service provides a great deal of infrastructure support to the Good Neighbour and Neighbourcare groups around Hampshire, such as CRB checks, support for volunteer drivers and access to insurance policies, as well as general advice on running their organisations – all of which can help to reduce running costs. The service can also provide advice to member organisations around alternative funding opportunities.”

Neighbourcare runs a subsidised car service to hospital, doctors, shops and clubs, along with a Home Help Service, which includes cleaning, gardening, shopping, sitting and a pop in service.

Other activities are the Dementia Club, which runs on a Thursday and Friday, the Lunch Club on a Monday, the Silver Surfers Internet, which delivers free Internet lessons, and the Community Charity Shop and Book Shop, based in Union Street.

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