I have lived and worked in Hastings for 40 years and am now retired and working as a volunteer.
During my working life I worked for both statutory and voluntary organisations with disadvantaged people, care leavers, people with complex needs, mental health issues, counselling and youth participation.
I have never known the situation for supporting people and provision of core services to be as bad as it is at present.
Now, after the already damaging cuts to the youth service, children’s services, and adult social care, the county is proposing drastic cuts in the grants to the voluntary sector that are already working with very limited resources to try to fill in the gaps.
I have filled in the consultation online but having taken part in many consultations over the years I have little faith that it is meaningful.
It asks which services are more important and which are least important. As far as I can see they are all needed.
It is also so long and repetitive that I fear many people would give up and not bother to fill it in.
I could go on about the effect the cuts would have on a number of services but I will concentrate on the Seaview Project.
Their service is literally life saving as some of their users would tell you.
On a daily basis they help house people who are street homeless, feed hungry people with no money and offer in depth support to people with a range of very complex issues.
A small cut will mean the loss of staff and reduction of the hours that the project opens and a large cut will close the project.
When people are housed many would not manage to stay in accommodation without a range of other support services and these are to be cut as well.
What will the effect be? It seems obvious that there will be huge human cost and a financial cost with more admissions to A&E, more police involvement, more suicide attempts.
How should these services be paid for in this time of austerity (for some!).
There seems to be many people in our society who are not affected.
The rich list published in the Observer mentions public sector salaries that those working face to face in the voluntary sector can only boggle at.
Many of these organisations also have to fundraise to support their service.
Even a small rise in our rates would spread the load if we believe in a caring and more inclusive society.
Again, the poorest and most vulnerable people in our town will be the ones most affected.
Please take time to look at the consultation document.
Even if you do not complete it is shows how drastic and wide ranging the proposed cuts are.
Fairlight Road, Hastings
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