Homeless hostel could be saved

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A HOMELESS hostel could be handed a lifeline next week when Nottinghamshire County Councillors meet to discuss funding.

Proposals revealed by the council this week would mean the centre will be safe until at least March 2012 if they get the thumbs up from councillors.

The decision will be made at a meeting of the full council on Thursday June 30.

Residents and staff at Stepping Stones in Eastwood feared for its future when cuts to the Supporting People budget were announced in February.

They started a petition, urged members of the public to write to the leader of the council and gained the support of Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero.

But this week the county council announced a proposal which would see the Church Street hostel receive its £154,000 funding from the Supporting People budget until the end of this August.

After that, the children, families and cultural services department will pick up the bill until March 2012.

Cabinet member for adult and social care, Kevin Rostance, said: “I have personally been and visited Stepping Stones and spoken to them to look at the service they provide.

“The impact of closure would have been dramatic and we looked at everything we could to keep it running.

A council spokesman told the Advertiser that Nottinghamshire County Council is committed to addressing youth homelessness.

He added: “Despite local budget pressures and a reduced grant from central Government, Nottinghamshire County Council has invested an extra £2.5m in its Supporting People programme.

“Supporting People, a national programme that provides housing-related support to help vulnerable people live independently, will see its Government grant in Nottinghamshire reduced to £17.6m this year, threatening the county council’s previous year’s Supporting People spend of £22.5m

“Yet thanks to a new £1.5m investment from the local NHS, plus a further £1m diverted from the county council budget, the Government’s allocation has been given a vital boost.”

The moves are in line with feedback received during public consultation earlier this year.

Staff at the hostel said they did not wish to comment until proposals are confirmed.

n The hostel received another cash boost from town mayor Ken Woodhead – see below.