Support cut threat for youth service in Mirfield

COUNSEL CUTS: Director Tom Taylor and counselling administrator Alison Chambers outside Northorpe Hall, where the youth counselling service is likely to be hit hard by funding cuts. (d19011116)
COUNSEL CUTS: Director Tom Taylor and counselling administrator Alison Chambers outside Northorpe Hall, where the youth counselling service is likely to be hit hard by funding cuts. (d19011116)
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A VALUABLE youth counselling service is likely to lose its funding as the council makes its cuts.

Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust offers free support to young people who are having mental health problems.

But the charity’s current contracts with Kirklees Council and Kirklees Primary Care Trust end in April, and are unlikely to be renewed. This will mean Northorpe Hall will be unable to offer its counselling service for free.

Northorpe Hall director Tom Taylor said: “We have a lot of evidence that our counselling makes a real difference to these young people’s lives and it’s extraordinary value for money.

“The council’s contribution was £27,000 last year and what we are trying to say is that this is a small amount of money to keep a valuable service going that helps a lot of people.”

Northorpe Hall also offers mentoring at its site in Northorpe Lane, for young people who may be struggling with issues like bereavement, family difficulties or traumatic experiences, and provides support and activities for young carers. The counselling service had more than 700 referrals in 2010, and helped more than 400 people. The likely cuts will hit Northorpe Hall twice as hard, as the funding it receives for its mentoring service, as part of the V6 Consortium of Kirklees voluntary groups, also ends in March.

A council and PCT spokesman said the Northorpe Hall contracts came from a government grant which ended in April.

He said: “We will do everything possible to reduce the impact of any changes and to help young people access other kinds of support. The drastic cut in government funding means that all councils must look for cuts in spending, and in Kirklees the reality is that we are balancing the need to make over £80m in savings against the need to maintain high-quality services.”

Northorpe Hall staff have launched a petition to try to convince councillors to extend the contracts when they make the final decision in February.

To sign the petition or let us know your thoughts, go to www.mirfieldreporter.co.uk.