Cash-stricken charity faces closure of base for vulnerable adults unless it receives help

A CHARITY that is a lifeline for people with mental health issues may have to close in months because of a cash crisis.
 
As well as depriving service receivers of vital support the closure of Erewash Mental Health Association's Touchwood Centre in Ilkeston would also mean the loss of four jobs.
 
The association, which was formed 30 years ago, used to have another centre in Long Eaton but that closed in April because of lack of funds, leaving just the one which caters for up to 40 people with mental health issues.
 
The Ilkeston centre, in Charlotte Street, offers a welcoming, safe and supportive environment where adults can have a meal, take part in various activities including learning life skills and computer training, recreation and sport, and receive help and support.
 
The centre, which is open from 10-3.30pm each weekday, is overseen by a board of directors.
 
One of them, Lesley Grand-Scrutton, said: “There have been drastic cuts in Derbyshire to funding mental health services by both the county council and the clinical commissioning group.
 
“The cuts have moved the goalposts so that instead of providing long-term centre-based support, as we do, what is offered is short-term support within the community by a national mental health charity.
 
“We are providing a vital service which is not the same as the alternative offered.
 
“Our service receivers are happy with what we do and don't like change. They are vulnerable and we are their lifeline.
 
“If we don't get sufficient help within months we will have no option but to close the the centre which will impact on the lives of the less fortunate in this area.
 
“There has been a lot of high profile, including royal support for mental health issues, but in our experience this does not filter through to grass roots level.”
 
The association received a grant of more than £100,000, but that stopped on March 31. It costs £8,000 a month to run the Ilkeston centre. 
 
Manager Lynn Orchard said: “We are managing to continue by using our reserves at the moment but we estimate that we can only continue to do that for another six months.
 
“We would appeal for any business, charity or philanthropist who could offer their financial support to contact us.”
 
Comments from service receivers include: 'Staff offer appropriate advice and a friendly welcome', 
'The centre allows members not to feel isolated when symptoms are scary', and 'Activities have made me happier and self-assured'.

Consultancy's work on regenerating old brownfield sites reaps triple success 

ENGINEERING consultancy Rodgers Leask is celebrating after a triple success for its work on major regeneration schemes involving brownfield sites.
 
The firm, which has its headquarters in Derby, triumphed at the 13th Brownfield Briefing Awards, a flagship event which recognises all that is best practice in the remediation sector and rewards technical and conceptual excellence in projects.
 
Rodgers Leask won two categories and was highly commended in a third.  In each case the company was linked with schemes by St Modwen Developments. 
 
In the category for the best brownfield infrastructure project, Rodgers Leask won for its work to design surface water and foul water management systems at the 600 acre former Llanwern Steelworks site at Newport in South Wales. The multi-function design for the new residential and business community was praised for its alternative approaches to flood storage, water quality management and bio-diversity enhancement as well as enhancing the landscape.
 
The company’s win in the Best Biodiversity Enhancement category was achieved for its work to re-route the River Ewelme at a former engine works at Dursley, Gloucestershire. The design successfully took the river from concrete culvert to open channel, re-creating a natural river habitat, providing the opportunity for fauna and flora to naturally migrate along the new river channel and increase local biodiversity. 
 
Rodgers Leask was also highly commended for its engineering input on the redevelopment of the former MG Rover works at Longbridge in the West Midlands. Over the last 12 years Rodgers Leask has been involved in all major phases of the development of the 190 hectare site which has transformed into a thriving new town centre and includes major retail stores, educational and office buildings,  a 75-bedroom hotel, and  shops, restaurants, and homes.
 
Andy Leask, chairman, said: “This was the first time we have entered these high-profile and prized awards so we are delighted to have been so successful.
 
“The results are a huge endorsement for the company, and a testament to the commitment and hard work of our staff in both Derby and the Birmingham office in helping to revitalise technically challenging sites for modern uses and to benefit local communities.”
 

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New help scheme for small businesses

A business rates relief scheme which will benefit nearly 200 businesses in Erewash is expected to get the green light at an Erewash Borough Council meeting this week.
 
The move comes following a national government revaluation of all commercial properties in England and Wales, leading to new rates payable by business owners. The last revaluation was in 2010 and the latest one has resulted in the business rates of some premises in the borough increasing significantly.
 
The government has made a funding pot available for local authorities to cover a four year period to help the predominantly small, medium and independent businesses facing the steepest increases in their bills as a result of the revaluation.
 
Erewash Borough Council’s share of this additional funding is £251,000 which will be distributed to local businesses over four years through a new rates relief scheme that councillors are expected to support at the Full Council meeting on Thursday 12 October.
 
The scheme will target the funding at those premises with a rateable value not exceeding £100,000 and work across two bands – those with a value up to £20,000 and those with a value between £20,001 and £100,000.
 
It is proposed that relief awarded to businesses in the lower band will cover the increase in business rates payable as a result of the revaluation between the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, while the funding will be used to ensure the increase payable by businesses in the upper band will be limited to 1.5%
 
Councillor Wayne Major, Erewash Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, says:
 
“We continue to do everything within our power to encourage business growth across the borough, creating opportunities for local people and helping to generate new jobs.
 
“This proposed scheme will target relief at businesses that are facing a significant increase in their business rate bills in order to minimise financial hardship.”
 
It is recommended to the meeting that the relief is distributed to the eligible local businesses automatically and efficiently without the need for an application process.
 
The funding is ‘front-loaded’, meaning £141,000 is available for the current financial year followed by £68,000 in 2018/19, £38,000 in 2019/20 and £4,000 in 2020/2021.
 
The Full Council meeting is at Long Eaton Town Hall this Thursday 12 October, at 7pm.