Leven charity reaches ‘breaking point’

Arden House in Leven
Arden House in Leven

A Leven charity which supports older people and those with dementia, has warned it is at “breaking point” after Fife Council revealed it would be cutting its funding.

Staff at the Arden House Project were informed last week that Fife Council would be cutting its budget by 2.5 per cent – around £4500 – from April 2018.

The charity, which has 12 staff and six volunteers, provides day care services to 160 people in the area.

Staff are already giving up their free time to work outside their paid hours to make sure the users get the best service possible, which they described as a “lifeline”.

Margaret Gear, manager, said the funding cut would make “a vast difference in how day care will be run”.

And she warned: “If things get really bad we might close, but we’ll hang on and try the best we can.

“We’re almost at breaking point.”

Fiona McKay, head of strategic planning, performance & commissioning for Fife Health & Social Care Partnership, said: “The Health and Social Care Joint Board recently made a decision to reduce funding to the voluntary sector by 2.5 per cent from April 2018 and asked organisations to look at how they could make efficiencies.”

Fiona continued: “In the past Arden House has had funding increases of between 1 and 2.5 per cent but last year there was no increase and unfortunately this year a saving will be required.

“This was a difficult decision but as the Partnership has a significant financial pressure we need all services to continue to look for savings.”

Margaret is calling on Fife Council to stop the funding cut.

She said that the charity would be able to help more people if it received more fun ding, but added: “We’ve not even considered how we are going to manage with the cut.

“How do we turn round and say to someone ‘we can’t give you day care’ when people are relying on it?”

One member of staff added: “If they take the 2.5 per cent away, there’s nothing else to cut.”

And, while she praised the councillors Colin Davidson and David Graham for helping, she added: “I would like to demand that the councillors from this area come down and see what it is that we do.

“Not one has come down and asked if there is anything that they can do to help.”

Cllr Davidson described the decision to cut the project’s funding as “lunacy”, adding: “The quality of the service being delivered by Arden House deserves to be supported by Fife Council.

“There should be no question of any cut being made to their budget.”