Job losses and service cuts loom at Combat Stress
A vital centre which supports veterans struggling with mental health issues is facing cuts.
Combat Stress’s Hollybush House in Ayrshire will have to make efficiency savings after its head office in England announced plans to save £1.3m a year.
Earlier this year the charity shed 12 jobs and now its 300 strong workforce faces a 13% staffing cut.
Combat Stress has 74 employees who work in its Ayrshire centre and three community teams across Scotland.
Managers have confirmed services and staff will both be affected.
A spokeswoman told TFN: "As part of this new strategy we are proposing to concentrate our specialist residential clinical care in two rather than three centres.
"Veterans in Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue to be supported by our treatment centre in Ayrshire.
"We regret that some of our very dedicated staff will be at risk of redundancy but our first responsibility has got to be to the veterans. We are committed to minimising redundancies and will find suitable alternative employment for affected employees wherever we can.
"For this reason we will ensure that employees at risk of redundancy are considered for appointment to any vacant roles in advance of other candidates.
"We will not know the actual number of any redundancies until we have completed the consultation process, finalised our plans and completed the selection process for any vacant/residual roles."
The charity said it is facing increasing financial pressures and had to use £6m of its reserves to continue to run its range of services.
This is despite referrals increasing by 143 per cent over the past 10 years, due to increasing military conflicts and the fact more veterans are asking for help.
Chief executive of English operations Sue Freeth said: “These changes have got to get us back into the black and, more importantly, we have to make sure we have a model of delivery that meets the increase in demand for services.”
Its centres in Ayr, Shropshire and Surrey will be integrated to save money Freeth said, and that some services would be altered.
"We are confident that what we are proposing makes sense and will get our organisation to where we want,” she said.
"These changes are in response to what veterans and commissioners in the NHS want to see and will help us develop a model we can sustain.
"At the moment our model of delivery is not sustainable. We need to be more flexible and agile."