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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Charity confirms closure of vital service as funders slash budget

This news post is 6 months old

Vulnerable women are at risk bosses say

A vital project supporting female offenders to rebuild their lives is to close in weeks.

Managers at Turning Point hoped last minute intervention would save the charity’s 218 service but an £850,000 funding shortfall has led them to confirm its imminent closure next month.

Some 30 jobs are under threat with the charity working with Unite to redeploy staff to other projects.

The service is provided by both Turning Point Scotland and the Glasgow Addiction Service and helps address issues with substance use, physical and mental health and other social needs including housing and childcare initiatives that female offenders face.

It provides an alternative to custody for women in the justice system and has been working with the health board, Glasgow courts and the city council since 2005.

The service was originally a 12-bed residential unit and day programme however, a review by the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership recently included reducing the bed capacity from 12 to eight women.

It has a combined budget of £1.5m – made up of £300,000 from Glasgow City Council and £1.2m from the Scottish Government.

Glasgow City Council withdrew £292,000 of funding in March 2023, and it was confirmed earlier this year the Scottish Government wouls reduce funding by £550,000.

Turning Point Scotland said it took the difficult decision not to bid for the tender as the residential provision as configured could not be delivered.

The charity said: “Turning Point Scotland participated in a review of the 218 service in 2023 with Glasgow City HSPC and an agreed service specification with a budget for the service of £1.37 million for the service to run with eight beds.

“Following this review, an ‘accommodation with support- female residential service’ tender was released with an approximate 50% cut to a maximum of £650,00.

“We had no prior knowledge of Glasgow City HSCP intention to cut the budget for the service by approximately 50%.”

Officials say they need to ensure value for money.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “This year £113m will be made available to Alcohol and Drugs Partnerships (ADPs) to support local and national initiatives ensuring that local services can respond to local needs. It is for ADPs to manage their own budgets and allocate financial resources.

"This year’s funding awards have been made toto ADPs, including for stabilisation, and they are now responsible for its final distribution.

“As we set out in the Cross Government Approach paper, we have committed £3m a year to ADPs to develop and implement stabilisation services.

"This funding is to develop and implement stabilisation services and work towards aligning crisis, stabilisation, detox and rehabilitation to reflect the full range of recovery pathways required."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership said: “Following a joint service review with Turning Point it was agreed the number of beds could be reduced in line with demand.

“This review was carried out earlier in the year and we have worked with Turning Point since then to reduce the number of beds from 12 to eight.”

However trade union Unite, which represents the majority of the 30 workers based in Glasgow city centre, branded the decision to cut funding to the programme as “scandalous”.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “If there was ever a time to invest money into a service like this to help some of the city’s most vulnerable people it is now. Unite will back our members who are providing transformative and life-changing work all the way.”