Cut our funds & disabled lose voice

0712071 SSFF disability network 'L - R: Muriel McGregor (Office Mgr), Daniel Easton (Admin Support), David Campbell (Management Comm), Elizabeth Moran (Admin Support), Margaret Hamilton (Network Member), Jack Carr (Treasurer & Acting Chair) - at Fife Independant Disability Network who are in danger of closing if Fife Council withdraws funding - at West Bridge Mill, Kirkcaldy
0712071 SSFF disability network 'L - R: Muriel McGregor (Office Mgr), Daniel Easton (Admin Support), David Campbell (Management Comm), Elizabeth Moran (Admin Support), Margaret Hamilton (Network Member), Jack Carr (Treasurer & Acting Chair) - at Fife Independant Disability Network who are in danger of closing if Fife Council withdraws funding - at West Bridge Mill, Kirkcaldy
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A FIFE disability group claims it may be forced to shut down if a recommendation to withdraw its funding is approved.

Fife Independent Disability Network (FIDN) fears Fife Council is set to recommend funding for the group should stop.

And it claims disabled people will lose ‘‘their only voice’’ if the cut goes ahead.

A report outlining the proposal is due to go before the housing and communities committee meeting on Tuesday when councillors will be asked to make a decision.

A Council spokeswoman said “difficult decisions” had to be made and it has recommended funding for some organisations should be cut greatly or stopped altogether.

In a statement released by Fife Disability Network, Michael Tonks, chairman, said: “FIDN is perhaps not well known to the general population but for over 15 years, it has furthered the cause of disabled people in Fife. FIDN has fought hard and long with Fife Council, NHS Fife and Fife Police on behalf of people with all disabilities, succeeding in changing attitudes, making them more aware of the problems and helping them find solutions.”

He said statutory bodies have consulted with the Network on disability issues such as the planning of the new wing at Victoria Hospital, the proposed new swimming pool in the town, as well as disabled parking in Kirkcaldy High Street, to help avoid possible pitfalls.

He added: “Where will they get the expert advice and knowledge if we close?

‘‘Is is fair disabled people should lose their only voice in order to save Fife Council money?”

But Sharon Douglas, Council funding and monitoring manager, said: “The money we have to support groups and organisations in the Kingdom is reducing so we need to make sure every penny we spend gives the maximum benefit.

“In order to ensure this, those who receive funding from us enter into an agreement which outlines objectives they must meet and each year we review the results.

‘‘This year, through this process, we’ve had to take the difficult decision to recommend funding for some organisations should reduce substantially or stop.

“We’d like to make it clear that the recommendations will not mean a loss of service for Fifers and we will be looking at alternative ways to provide support.

“But no decision has been taken yet and the matter will be decided by councillors on the housing and communities committee on February 21.”