St Albans councillor donates grant to family support charity after county slashes funding

Home-Start supporters protested outside County Hall

Home-Start supporters protested outside County Hall

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A helping hand has been given to a family support charity which has seen its funding slashed by more than £600,000 in recent months.

St Albans county councillor Roma Mills has pledged £1,000 from her locality budget to Home-Start, the family support charity which has seen its funding slashed by more than £600,000 in recent months.

The money will come directly from Cllr Mills’s locality budget, which gives elected councillors the freedom to spend up to £10,000 on community projects that promote “social, economic or environmental wellbeing”.

She said: “I don’t think we can afford to lose a service like this and I would be deeply worried if it closed down altogether.

“I know what a great job the Home-Start volunteers do in supporting local families. We really need to make sure that this home visiting service keeps going in St Albans.”

A number of other local county councillors have pledged funds to the charity this year and Cllr Mills said she would be encouraging other members to use their locality budgets in the same way.

Last month the county council vote not to renew the the annual funding of £400,000 to the county-wide home-visiting service. A further cut of £206,000 in funding from the county’s clinical commissioning groups means that Home-Start might not survive much longer.

Home-Start senior coordinator, Suzy Moody, said: “We have had several donations from county councillors – we’re waiting for the response from a few more, so hopefully the number will increase.

“I think it’s a good demonstration of their [county councillor’s] investment in the local community.”

Suzy said that Home-Start needed around £40,000 in the “here and now” to make up for the shortfall brought about by the cuts.

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