Up! birthday celebrations to go ahead despite closure threat

Residents and staff at a North Staffordshire mental wellbeing service are to go ahead with their birthday celebrations despite the announcement of shock closure plans.

Up! provides support for 24 people, along with accommodation for its most vulnerable customers at Pointon House, Newcastle-under-Lyme. It employs nine staff.

The service, provided by Arch, has been earmarked for closure by Staffordshire County Council despite being just one year into a three year contract.

A decision to cut all funding for Up! came as a shock and surprise to Arch and staff at Up! who had already announced plans for a birthday celebration on 15 July (Tuesday).

“We are devastated by the decision but will go ahead with the celebration in recognition of the achievements of Up! in its first year, said Barry Pitts of Arch.

“We are campaigning hard to get the closure decision overturned and have received much support from our customers and the local community.”

Support has also been received from Newcastle-under-Lyme MP Paul Farrelly who condemned the cuts as “savage and cruel.”

Arch, part of the Staffordshire Housing Group, has provided evidence to the county council to show how the services contracted to them will save several million pounds to the general public purse over the next 12 months compared with the £460,000 they will save through their proposed cuts and closures.

It is also protesting about the decision to cut services before a consultation process – that had proposed a 50 per cent funding cut for Up! – had been completed.

Expressing his support for Up!, Mr Farrelly said: “The Up! Project is helping vulnerable Newcastle residents and, the service it provides, saves local and national government thousands of pounds a year by preventing the escalation of mental health problems which, if not tackled early enough, can lead to hospital admission and the need for long term support.”

Local residents are welcome to attend the Up! Open day, between 10am and 4pm on Tuesday, 15 July.

Residents wishing to attend are asked to contact Up! On 01782 473017.


Notes to Editors:

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend the birthday celebrations at Pointon House, 6 Northcote Place, Newcastle, ST5 1HU

Arch, which is part of the Staffordshire Housing Group, works with some of the most vulnerable people in society, providing support services for people experiencing domestic violence, poor mental wellbeing, substance misuse or homelessness.

Based in Stoke on Trent with homes and services throughout Staffordshire and East Cheshire, the Staffordshire Housing Group comprises Staffordshire Housing Association, Arch, Blue Mountain and Revival Home Improvement Agency. The group is dedicated to creating opportunities and changing lives by providing high quality homes and services to a diverse range of people.

Parent company Staffordshire Housing Association owns and manages around 3,000 homes for rent and sale, and also delivers regeneration and housing development.

Revival, the group’s home improvement agency, works with older and vulnerable people to maintain their properties, help them return home from hospital, adapt their homes to suit their health needs and maintain their independence.

For media enquiries contact Sarah Pye 01782 743883 or Sandra Barber 01782 743820