Petition - Save The Junction, Andover

Response from Hampshire County Council, April 2017

Petition: Save The Junction, Andover

Further to our letter of 20 February 2017, we confirm receipt of your petition with regards to The Junction in Andover. There has been significant correspondence between council officers, local councillors and Kit Malthouse MP with regards The Junction and this letter provides further information in respect of Alabare and The Junction in response to your petition.

As you will know, Alabare submitted a grant application to the Children’s Services 0-19 grant fund seeking ongoing funding to deliver services from The Junction. This application was for £64,889. The funding previously given through the grant process in 2016/17 was for £28,830 for the part year.

As I understand it, Alabare’s income in previous years had also included payments from Adults Services for accommodation for young adults. When this service was tendered in 2014, Alabare were successfully awarded a contract to deliver supported accommodation and emergency and assessment beds to young adults (aged 16-21 years). This contract will be in place until 31 March 21018 and Alabare will also have the opportunity to tender for any replacement contract.

Separately, Alabare have been appointed to the Adults’ Services Learning Disability and Supported Living Framework which provides Alabare with opportunities to submit proposals to deliver specified packages of care. Alabare have only tendered for one package of care under this framework and were unsuccessful with the contract being awarded to Andover Mencap. No doubt this will have increased the organisation’s need to look elsewhere for funding but the Children’s Services grant can not be used to substitute for a contract fairly awarded elsewhere, and opportunities to bid for future packages of care under this Adults’ Services framework are still available.  Hampshire County Council’s 0-19 grant is intended to support projects delivered by the voluntary and not for profit sector operating within Hampshire. The key principles of the funding are to:

  • Support local priorities set by the 11 Local Children’s Partnerships or equivalent groups.
  • Targeted at levels 2 & 3, on the Children’s Trust threshold chart.
  • Support the delivery of the Hampshire Children and Young People’s Plan 2015-2018

The local priorities set for the 0-19 grant by the Test Valley Local Children’s Partnership (LCP) were:

  1. Providing young people with support to build resilience and life skills, targeting children and young people who meet the level 2/ 3 threshold.
  2. Providing parents with support to build resilience, parenting capacity and modelled behaviour, targeting families who meet the level 2/ 3 threshold.
  3. Providing support to families around responsibilities and consequences of actions, targeted at level 2/3 families.
  4. Reduce the incidences of violence between young children and parents.

Alabare’s grant application was rejected primarily because it offered a counselling service that overlapped with the new services offered by the new Clinical Commissioning Group counselling contract. This provides significantly more funding to counselling services (more than £800,000 per year for the next five years from the NHS) than the Council has been able to provide (over 6,500 counselling sessions per annum will be delivered in 2017- 18) and LCPs were advised not to award 0-19 to counselling organisations to ensure no duplication of services. As a result, across Hampshire, only a few grants have been awarded by the local authority for specialist counselling. In the Andover area, funding has been allocated to several organisations supporting young people with mental health, emotional resilience and life skills.

A summary of the grant funded provision in the Test Valley area:

Grant Reference Organisation Contact Name Project Name Themes Grant Amount Rewarded Project Summary
CG00011575 Andover Mind Debra Ramchurn Spring Board Mental Health Support £36,316.00 A project to support young people and parents to build resilience and to support children with emotional/mental health problems
CG00011603 Family Lives Amanda Kelly Test Valley Parenting Support Project Parent Support £9,561.00 This project will provide parents with support to build resilience, parenting capacity and model positive behaviour. Targeted support via workshops and courses and trained volunteer befrienders.
CG00011677 RCS Ltd Kim Francis Sunrisers Family Support Parent Support £10,000.00 Sunrisers is designed to provide 1:1 support with families across Test Valley in their homes at a time when they are most vulnerable, through the recruitment and training of a volunteer team
CG00011684 Youth in Romsey Jenny Grace Summer Holiday Program Youth Club £1,731.10 Youth In Romsey ran a successful pilot summer holiday program for identified children aged 6-11 years. Would like to repeat the program for Summer 2017 increasing the numbers of spaces for known families.
CG00011622 Yellow Brick Road Projects Siobhan Down You Matter Programmes (Multiple District Application) Specialist Youth Provision £6,086.00 (£18,173) The accredited You Matter programme teaches the vital life skills that enable the most vulnerable to better manage their everyday lives and look more positively towards their future.

We are aware that Alabare have been named as one of 12 organisations, led by No Limits, who were recently awarded this Clinical Commissioning Group contract and so will receive ongoing funding to deliver counselling services in the Andover area. There is a no doubt that the County Council has had to make many difficult decisions in order to respond to the significant reductions in finding that have been necessary since 2010. The County Council has achieved those savings, in the order of £310 million since 2010, by radically transforming its services. The 0-19 grant making process was altered this year in order to target the resources that we have even more carefully. As such, it was different from the previous YSS grant that Alabare had previously successfully bid against. One of the key differences is that the 0-19 grant no longer supports universal, open access youth provision such as described at The Junction. Prior to making these grant changes there were a number of briefings, which were well attended, for voluntary sector colleagues in order that they were well prepared for the changes to the criteria and so that they could also begin to transform their organisations.

Furthermore, when the data for Alabare is analysed, it can be seen that a significant proportion of the contacts and work undertaken by The Junction has been with young people aged 20-25, beyond the scope of the 0-19 grant.

In looking at grant applications Hampshire County Council is keen to ensure long term sustainability without the need for grant funding. In 2015/16 the grant application from Alabare said that if it was not successful the organisation would ‘draw on reserves to help this valuable project continue and to pay the dedicated staff who run it’. The application pointed to free reserves of 360,000 of which £25,000 would be available to help this project. The 2016/17 application has a line through the section for reserves and instead goes on to state that if the grant application were partially successful ‘Our fundraising department are looking to other funding streams to support the work we currently carry out at The Andover Foyer drop in’ furthermore, if not successful, the application states, ‘should we not receive grant applied for we would look to reduce the service we offer and operate from alternative premises. We would not have to close the whole service.’ [my emphasis] The end of year (2015/16) accounts for Alabare show that the organisation has total reserves of £3,316,496 of which £1,032,779 are held for restricted purposes, with an unrestricted free reserve balance of £67,536. Last year, the organisation’s income exceeded its costs by £239,408.

Alabare continues to receive significant funding from Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services, mainly for accommodation for young people. The spend with Alabare so far in 2016/17 is £201,791. This compares to £236,066 in 2015/16 for the full year. It is likely therefore, that we will exceed last year’s spend with you in this area.

Overall then, your organisation continues to receive considerable funding from the County Council and is now in receipt of additional funding from the NHS for counselling services. If carefully deployed this funding should enable your organisation to flourish and be sustainable.

A meeting is being held on 13 March 2017 to discuss how you might work with the County Council in order to meet young people’s needs in Hampshire. This meeting will be attended by the Director of Children’s for Hampshire County Council and the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services and Deputy Leader of the County Council.