Council’s latest cuts force mental health services to close

CROYDON IN CRISIS: MP says the latest round of funding cuts to services delivered by mental health charity are ‘devastating’. By STEVEN DOWNES

Mind in Croydon is to close two of its support services for people living with complex, long-term mental health conditions, after Croydon Council cut the services’ funding.

The Employment Support Service, which has provided one-to-one support and guidance for people in the borough for nearly 20 years, has had its funding completely withdrawn after a review of Adult Social Care contracts by the council. The Employment Support Service helped their final client last week.

The specialist Welfare Benefits Advice and Casework Service has also been cut, though some limited services will continue until next March, after Mind in Croydon trustees stepped in to provide funding from the charity to support people already using the service and who are waiting for dates for welfare benefits appeals to be heard.

People directly affected by the closures have already been contacted and are being supported to find other sources of help and advice.

The council cuts are part of the 2022-2023 budget approved at the Town Hall in March this year by the then Labour-led administration. After £44.7million-worth of cuts in 2021-2022, a further £38.4milion was sliced from the council’s spending in this financial year, following the authority’s financial collapse in 2020.

The funding being cut by the council amounts to £380,907 per annum across the Mind in Croydon services.

Mind in Croydon and other providers had tendered to the council and were awarded one-year contracts as recently as May 2021, with an option for a 12-month extension until April 2023. The council had already reduced the number of contracts it was offering in this area of support from seven to four, thereby cutting the contract value by £200,000.

Through its Welfare Benefits service, Mind in Croydon was able to support 1,200 people every year – with around 120 accompanied to tribunals to ensure the right information is heard by the tribunal and a fair outcome is achieved. Mind in Croydon reckon that they delivered around £1.5million of additional or previously unclaimed cash benefits to residents in Croydon every year.

“This money helps to pay council tax and other bills and not only circulates in the Croydon economy but helps people to remain mentally well, reducing costs elsewhere in the health and social care system,” according to a source.

‘Devastating closures’: MP Sarah Jones

“Our voluntary sector in Croydon is at the forefront of the fight against poverty and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis,” said Sarah Jones, the Labour MP for Croydon Central.

“Mind in Croydon is a fantastic local charity doing great work to support people with mental health problems.

“It’s devasting to hear of these closures, especially at a time like this when cost of living increases are squeezing household budgets hard. These support services will be even more needed. Our advice and information services in the borough are at risk of being overwhelmed with people needing help and support.”

Philippa Mariani, the chief executive of Mind in Croydon, said, “We are very sad to no longer have the funding to support people looking for work, or to return to work, and with their welfare rights and benefits.

“Our services have supported many thousands of people over the years and enabled people to regain confidence, health and independence. This is a real blow especially as we were awarded the contract only last year, working with our partners Croydon Mencap to enhance the support that we could offer people with learning disabilities and autism.

“The council has been very clear with us that this decision is regretted and does not reflect at all on the quality of the services we provide.

“We have looked at alternative solutions to closure but without the council funding, our services can’t be sustained. It’s great that our board of trustees has stepped in to ensure that we don’t leave people already getting support with complex welfare benefits tribunal cases in the lurch, but with the impact of covid on our public fundraising over the last two years, this can be for a limited time only.”

Read more: Further £38.4m to be sliced from next year’s council budget
Read more: Councillors were warned of financial crisis months in advance
Read more: Council forced to declare itself bankrupt
Read more: ‘Mistakes will be made’ warn staff after latest round of cuts

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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4 Responses to Council’s latest cuts force mental health services to close

  1. Thanks for spreading the word, this is a scandal. Ever watched JOKER?

  2. Sarah Gills says:

    Be clear. That these cuts are the cuts that would have happened earlier but the council was trying to put off with its convoluted property schemes to try and make money. They’re coming now but would have come earlier. It’s a bitter, glass edged pill to swallow but it is the reality. Some new faces in the council relish this and think “they need to make tough decisions”, although from their gilded offices they never have to directly face the consequences of their actions. It’s the same with central government who started this process in 2010, and will continue it under Liz Truss. And the ones who suffer are those at the bottom.

    • derekthrower says:

      Complete rot. Part-time Perry came into administration with a financial surplus and was very vocal on how much he was spending on cleaning equipment and cutting grass, and using a council photographer to record it all.

      The Conservatives used to be champions of the voluntary sector and the few thousands to provide a cash flow to Mind to enable the provision of this supportive service was there at the start.

      The DEMOC made a choice and his choice is to reduce support for mental health charities. That is the reality.

  3. Nice of Sarah Jones to pipe up.

    Shame she was effectively silent/ invisible during the period her LBC comrades were flushing the borough down the drain.

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