Sudden collapse of charity which helps hundreds of South Yorkshire families

Home-Start South Yorkshire, which is folding after 35 years
Home-Start South Yorkshire, which is folding after 35 years
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Hundreds of vulnerable families across the region have been hit by the sudden collapse of Home-Start South Yorkshire.

The long-standing charity, which helps 300 families in desperate need, will stop its services in just two weeks following a funding crisis. It will move to liquidation at the beginning of June after existing for 35 years.

Councillor Jack Scott, who is Cabinet member on Sheffield Council, was chief executive of Home-Start South Yorkshire until recently. He was at the helm for four years and declined to comment.

The new chief executive Cat Ross, who took over the role in March, has “worked tirelessly” with the board of trustees but has been unable to save the charity.

The problems started two years ago when Home-Start South Yorkshire began delivering services in Barnsley which had no funding. It was then compounded by a significant reduction in grants and an immediate cash flow crisis.

Ms Ross said: “We remained in Barnsley in 2016 in the best interests of helping families there but the services we continued to run were unfunded and that significantly reduced our reserves.

“We then had a significant loss of funding early this year from a number of different grants in a short space of time.

“It is a very difficult time for the charity sector and has been for a number of years. It’s sad that organisations such as ours suffer in this way and more importantly, for the families who will not longer receive our support.”

Home-Start South Yorkshire offers one-to-one befriending with 300 families and has 200 volunteers. It will work with families over the next fortnight to help them find other support through the council, social services or other charities.

Ms Ross added: “We help families who have had multiple births and just need an extra pair of hands through to complex families with intervention from social services.

“We also work with families where there are mental health needs, mums with postnatal depression and can support families with financial difficulties. People can self-refer or come through social services, the GP or health visitor.

“The loss of Home-Start will bring a about a huge gap in provision for families and bring added pressures for remaining statutory and voluntary provision. Most of all it will leave vulnerable families with little options of where to turn for support at the most difficult times in their lives.”

Concerned families can call the Home-Start office on 0114 2788377.