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Petition launched to protect the future of the Signpost centres in Stafford and Stone

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 26, 2014

By Sarah Marshall

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RESIDENTS are rushing to sign a petition to help ensure the survival of the Signpost centres in Stafford and Stone.

The Newsletter revealed a few weeks ago that the centres in Highfields, Stafford, the Frank Jordan Centre in Stone, and an outreach in Barlaston, were facing a funding crisis.

It comes as numbers of people using the centre are rocketing as people rush to get advice on benefits, job help, get food from the food bank and use computers for free.

The centres also hold sessions by Mid Staffs Mind, drug and alcohol support through Adsis, housing advice from Stafford and Rural Homes, legal advice from Pickering and Butters solicitors and mum and toddler groups.

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The centres have in the past been funded by lottery cash and by both Staffordshire County Council, the borough council and the Clinical Commissioning Group, but demands on budgets are making it more and more difficult.

Now members have started a petition, which has already gained 225 signatures.

It calls on leaders to act now to find the necessary funding to keep open Signpost Centres in the county at a time when the demand for their services is increasing.

They want to hand the petition in to a meeting of the full county council on March 13.

In 2013 the number of adult help sessions doubled from 326 in June to 647 in December and the number of sessions by external agencies also increased 86 to 127 to cope with the numbers of people being signposted in.

Signposts boss Ken Downs says the petitions have been sent out to a number of organisations in a bid to get support.

“We want to ensure there is funding available as there is much incertainty with that at the moment,” he said. “We don’t want to see any of our services being under threat.”

The Highfields centre ran a one-off drumming workshop for men and their children last week. It is part of a planned project to run more sessions for dads and future dads to build up their confidence and skills in the role.

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