Support charity throws carers’ centre a lifeline

Katherine Worrall, front left, and Lesley Legge, front right, vice-chairman of South and Vale Carers Centre (SVCC) with Guideposts and SVCC members

Katherine Worrall, front left, and Lesley Legge, front right, vice-chairman of South and Vale Carers Centre (SVCC) with Guideposts and SVCC members

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

A SUPPORT centre for children who care for disabled parents has been saved from closure.

Didcot’s South and Vale Carers Centre (SVCC) has been rescued by Witney carer support charity, Guideposts Trust.

The centre, which has supported unpaid carers in South Oxfordshire for 20 years, faced closure after Oxfordshire County Council withdrew its funding in 2011. But following publicity from the Oxford Mail and others, Guideposts Trust has come to the rescue.

Yesterday the two organisations were due to sign the agreement which will save the centre – which costs £200,000 a year to run – for the foreseeable future.

Centre manager John Tabor said: “This is a lifesaver. We were facing closure within weeks. This is a really good result for carers because it will enable us to support them.”

The centre currently supports 1,000 unpaid carers including 200 under-18s, and says demand increases year on year.

Last year, staff helped carers and disabled people to claim more than £920,000 in allowances and benefits, including £64,000 through the appeals and tribunal service, and took 123 carers on vital short respite breaks.

Following the loss of its largest source of revenue from the county council in 2011, the centre downsized, cut half of its staff, and continued as an independent charity, relying on its own fundraising.

But despite funding from South Oxfordshire District Council, charitable trusts, individuals and community groups, the centre found it impossible to raise the necessary funds and planned to close in March.

Now, Guideposts Trust has said it will prop the centre up financially while helping it to find new ways to generate income. The centre’s chairman of trustees, Bob Ely, said: “Carers are the real winners here.

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“We are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Guideposts.

“Working together there is not only a future for our existing carers’ services but we will be able to explore possibilities of jointly developing and providing other carer services in Oxfordshire.”

Guideposts Trust has provided care and support services to the mentally ill for more than 40 years, helping its clients lead independent lives.

Managing director, Katherine Worrall, said: “Guideposts has always held the philosophy of working within the local community, developing and delivering excellent and innovative services that provide real value and make a real difference to people’s lives.

“We believe South & Vale Carers have been doing that for 20 years and we are delighted to be able to work with them to continue their valuable work.”

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