CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating as the closure-threatened Signpost centres in Stafford, Stone and Barlaston will continue.
A funding crisis was putting the future of the lifeline centres in Highfields, Stafford, and the Frank Jordan Centre in Stone, in jeopardy.
The centres, including an outreach in Barlaston, provide vital help to the public with a range of issues, including the use of computers, help to apply for jobs and filling in forms, benefits advice, drug and alcohol support through Adsis and other help from organisations such as Mid Staffs Mind, Stafford and Rural Homes, Pickering and Butters solicitors and mum and toddler groups.
They had previously relied on cash from Stafford Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council, but while Stafford Borough continued to put funding in the county council was forced to remove its share because of budget cuts.
It left the centres scrambling to find alternative funding pots and residents who have used the centres rushing to support them by signing a petition calling for its future to be secured.
Mark Harrison, 43, from Milton Grove, a volunteer at the Highfields centre, said: “I am an alcoholic waiting to go into rehab. Coming here and volunteering gets me out of the house. I really don't know what I would have done without it.”
But Stafford and District Voluntary Services, which manages Signpost centres, has been working with Staffordshire County Council to ensure funding is made available for now. It gives Signpost staff more time to look for alternative funding so the service can continue long-term.
Area manager Ken Down said: “At the same time we were campaigning to keep the centres open and not make staff redundant Stafford District Voluntary Services and the county council were looking at ways they could make funds available. This they have now done and we are very glad to say that our centres can stay open for the foreseeable future.
“We have also had a number of generous donations from a local church, which, when added to the council’s money, will allow us to maintain our service at current levels. We now have time to secure other funding and ensure that our valuable services can continue on into the future.”