Support group’s fear after £40,000 funding cut

PUBLISHED: 11:27 19 October 2013

Jake Hall and Junior Houchen hold the Angels support group poster

Jake Hall and Junior Houchen hold the Angels support group poster

Archant

A charity that offers help and advice to parents of children who have behavioural conditions has lost its funding from Herts County Council.

Angels Support Group, which supports parents and carers of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), has had £40,000 in funding removed by the county council.

Leise Cooper, 43, was one of the first members to help set up the charity, which is based at The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living, after her two children were diagnosed with the conditions 10 years ago.

The mother-of-two from Hitchin, who is now the charity’s parent support manager, said: “We work really hard to support families from all over North Hertfordshire and Stevenage. It has been a real shock that this lump of money has been taken away from us.

“We have enough funds to tide us over until Easter next year, but after that, if we don’t get anymore funding, we will have to start to cut back on the services we do offer and we really don’t want to have to do that.”

Currently the charity has 700 members.

Support groups run weekly in Hitchin, Stevenage and Letchworth GC and fortnightly in Royston. The charity also runs various activities during holiday times for children and families.

Marolyn Brown, 39, from Hitchin, uses the group for support with her eight-year-old son Zak, who has ASD.

She said: “They are a lifeline to parents and they have helped me and my son to a great degree. They are always at the end of the phone when you need them. If the service was cut, I don’t know where we would go.

“They have helped me with understanding the condition; they’ve come with me to meet my son’s teachers to explain to them what he has. The new members may not get to benefit from all the support I have had.”

Another parent, Maddie Samson, whose son Lucas, 10, has been diagnosed with severe autism and ADHD, said: “Our life would be horrendous without their support. My son and I would not be where we are today without them. They helped me get him out of mainstream school and into a special school which caters for his needs.”

A Herts County Council spokesman said: “The council awarded fixed-term grant funding to a variety of groups for a two-year period from 2011, of which Angels Support was one of 10 local organisations that was successful.

“The funding was provided for local voluntary sector organisations, to contribute to the work those organisations do in delivering targeted services that prevent the support needs of children and their families from escalating.

“It was made clear from the onset that this was not intended as permanent funding.”

For more about the charity visit www.angelssupportgroup.org.uk


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