Derby City Council Cut Mental Health Charity Funding.
Derbyshire Voice's Funding Cuts.
Towards the end of 2012 Derbyshire Voice a mental health charity was informed by Derby City Council that they were proposing to stop funding the organisation. The funding being £16,500 per year which is a fraction of the 30 Million pounds that the Council are spending on the renovation of the main Council building.
This cut will have a very detrimental affect on mental health patients' ability to be trained and supported in influence their services. This will silence a quiet, disengaged group within the community.
Who are Derbyshire Voice
Derbyshire Voice has a dedicated team of mental health service user representatives that attend over 250 meetings every year on behalf of mental health patients. They have worked in partnership with the NHS and both the Derby City and Derbyshire County Council to improve mental health services. This invaluable work has been carried out by Derbyshire Voice for over 10 years.
Derbyshire Voice currently has over 450 service user members who are actively involved and supported to express their opinion about mental health services. It can typically be the case that a service receiver can be an expert by experience and as such be perfectly placed to help providers improve services.
Petition Against The Cuts
It an attempt to get Derby City Council to reconsider cutting Derbyshire Voice's funding they commenced numerous activities to gain the required number of signatures that would enable them to engage the Council leaders in a debate. Included in this activity was a silent protest in sub zero temperatures in Derby City Centre. Despite the fact that it was bitterly cold, Derbyshire Voice managed to get 380 signatures from Christmas shoppers.
The target number of signatures required to secure a debate with the Council leaders was 4000. The actual number that signed Derbyshire Voice's petition was 4168. This is a remarkably high level of support, given that most of the signatures were obtained during a 4 week period over Christmas and the new year.
The Council's Decision
The Council leaders gave Catherine Ingram the CEO of Derbyshire Voice an opportunity to put forward the case for continuing to fund Derbyshire Voice. It was argued that the Council needed to keep faith with Derbyshire Voice to meet its statutory and legal responsibilities to mental health.
50 councillors attended the meeting, with 23 voting against the cuts and 26 voting for the cuts. The votes were cast strictly on party lines. All of the Labour councillors voted for the cuts . The Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors all voted for the funding of Derbyshire Voice to continue.
It was an extremely disappointing outcome for all of the people in the area who have or who are touched by a mental health condition. Quite clearly there is a lot of support for the work that is done by Derbyshire Voice to influence the improvement of mental health services.
The Labour councillors who all voted for the cuts to Derbyshire Voice's funding, should remember the public gallery's reaction after the decision was reached to go ahead with the funding cuts,
Shouts of "Appalling and disgraceful" .
This I think sums up the decision.