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(Un)happy Birthday - NHS 70th anniversary marked by grant cuts to local charities

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Local charity Community Action Derby is one of dozens of local charities who received an unwelcome surprise on the 70th Anniversary of the NHS today – a letter from the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group telling them that it plans to cut all its grant funding.

CCG grants pay for a number of the organisation's services which help vulnerable people across the city - the volunteer brokerage service supports people by reducing social isolation, provides opportunities to people to keep well and stay independent, as well as enabling vital social contact and helping people back into employment. Community Action works across the city with 850 member organisations that access its charitable services and links them into all kinds of community support services. It also provides support and access to small grants in Derby to help local voluntary and community groups who work with vulnerable people.

Kim Harper, CEO of Community Action, said: “The grant funding we receive from the CCG is a third of our income, so this seriously threatens our charity’s services.

“We are only one of a number of organisations receiving this news today and the impact will be disastrous.  Those who rely on the services we support – many of whom describe them as a lifeline – will be devastated. So will the volunteers who generously give so much of their time for free and make these services possible.

“We had been told that the CCG was under pressure, but to find out that we are going to lose all our grant is terrible news - especially on a day when we had hoped to be celebrating 70 years of the NHS and the additional investment being made by Government

“It’s also short sighted, when health services are under so much pressure, to slash affordable, community-based, preventative support that does so much to keep people out of hospital.  The CCG’s own equality assessment says that their cuts will increase social isolation and loneliness, which is a cause of depression and early death. And all this in addition to the fact that every £1 invested in Community Action generates £8 into the local economy.”