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Carer support service in St Mary Cray could close in six months

PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:43 18 September 2017

A support service for volunteer carers is under threat

A support service for volunteer carers is under threat

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Carers Bromley supports more than 5,000 carers around the borough

A change in the way carers are supported by the council means a St Mary Cray charity could go bust in the next six months.

Carers Bromley supports 5,500 residents who are voluntarily looking after loved ones, friends or neighbours, but a new partnership introduced by the council means it’s funding could be cut.

Bromley Third Sector Enterprises has combined local branches of national organisations such as Age UK, Mind, Citizens Advice Bureau and Mencap together with Community Links Bromley to join-up the borough’s services.

Set up 26 years ago, Carers Bromley was due to become part of the partnership, but ultimately pulled out.

Lynne Powrie, chief executive of the charity said: “We were originally a part of the BTSE, but we realised we could not sign on to the partnership without risking insolvency. Legally we could not sign on for this reason.

“All the monies that had been granted to each partner have been put in to a pot, once we left we thought we’d still get our own funding, but Bromley council have confirmed that won’t happen.

“Because we’re not a part of this scheme, we could lose around £500,000 a year in funding.

“We’ve got enough money in reserves for another six months, but we desperately need care funding so we can keep providing support and activities for carers.

“There are plenty of carers out there needing a lot of help, but without fresh funding we won’t be able to provide that help.”

Jane Palmer, a carer for her disabled husband, said: “The decision by the council is beyond comprehension, all the expertise that Carers Bromley has will be lost. We don’t know what will happen next.”

A spokesperson for Bromley council and NHS Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said, “Bromley Council and CCG have not stopped funding carers services, but have changed the way they are provided.

“To achieve best value for money, quality and joined up services for our residents, we jointly retendered carers’ support with a range of other complementary preventative services when existing contracts ended.

“The new arrangements will be in place from October 1 and involve a consortium of providers including Bromley’s local Age UK, Mind, Citizens Advice Bureau, Mencap and Community Links. Carers Bromley were originally part of this consortium but subsequently decided not to take part in the new contract.

“We are very excited about how services will now be made available to carers in the borough and over the next few weeks will be providing more information on the new name for our ‘one-stop-shop,’ as well as about the full range of services on offer.”

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