FUNDING for friendship clubs for vulnerable and disabled people will now continue to be provided by Wiltshire Council, after it did a speedy U-Turn on cutting £62k from the vital services – when one group affected pointed out it had breached its own guidelines.

Fierce community reaction followed after the council posted letters to the day centres, which provide day services for vulnerable, disabled and blind people throughout Wiltshire, telling them their funding had been cut.

Today Cllr Jerry Wickham, cabinet member for public health and adult social care, confirmed no cuts will take place and committed to working with the clubs instead.

He said: “I have suspended any cuts to the reduction of grant funding. We will now work with various clubs to go through and understand what the issues are and design a new way of operating going forward.

“Nobody likes funding being cut and in hindsight the first thing the clubs found out about was getting a letter through their door. And that is not the right way and not the way we all agreed to operate as part of the Wiltshire Compact.

“That is why I and my cabinet members decided it was an inappropriate way to proceed and not in the spirit of things.”

A statement earlier today from Wessex Community Action highlighted the breach of the Wiltshire Compact between the council and voluntary sector

It stated: “Wessex Community Action (WCA) along with many other charities and voluntary sector organisations has received notice from Wiltshire Council of the termination of their grants.

“These notices came completely out the blue and there has been no consultation or engagement with WCA before the letter of termination arrived.

“WCA have responded by drawing Wiltshire Council’s attention to the Wiltshire Compact agreement which they have breached.”