Axe to fall on Sheffield health charity

Protest outside Sheffield Town Hall against mental health advocay service cuts
Protest outside Sheffield Town Hall against mental health advocay service cuts
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Adults with learning disabilities will not be left without support when a service is axed, Town Hall bosses have promised.

Sheffield Council pledged there will be another advocacy scheme in place when the current contract with mental health charity Mencap is axed at the end of March.

The promise comes amid fears vulnerable adults could get lost in the system or be left without a trained professional to turn to in a time of crisis.

Parents and carers took part in a protest outside Sheffield Town Hall in a bid to get the council to re-think the decision to get rid of Mencap, which has provided advocacy support in Sheffield for the past two-and-a-half years.

The council has defended the decision and promised a smooth hand-over period.

Richard Webb, executive director of communities at Sheffield Council, said: “We are not cutting independent advocacy – we’re prepared to spend the same amount next year as we have this year. Our current contract with Mencap ends in March and we will not be renewing it because we believe we can get better value for money, and a better service for the people who need this support, elsewhere.

“When our budgets are increasingly under pressure it is more important than ever that we continually review all our contracts to make sure we are getting the best service for our money.

“We reserve the right to change providers.

“I can give an assurance there will be no gap in advocacy services while we put new arrangements in place.”