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Further blow for charity Henshaws as another service looks set to close

Further blow for charity Henshaws as another service looks set to close

Published by Lisa Darvill at 12:53pm 16th June 2020. (Updated at 4:08pm 16th June 2020)

Harrogate charity Henshaws has announced another one of its services is set to close 

The charity, which supports people with disabilities and special needs, has announced it is to transition out of providing supported living housing. 

It says families affected have been told and the decision will affect around 21 residents. A further 16 people who are not residents receive support and those services will transition as well.

Henshaws Chief Executive Nick Marr said: 

"Henshaws Home Support service was on a knife edge financially and the pressure on local authorities funding these and other places has increased.

"We are not able to sustain these services so we intend to transition out of providing them, at the latest, in October, to ensure the best continuity can be arranged for the service users. We will be consulting with staff in the service about the future of their roles."

Henshaws had given notice to North Yorkshire County Council in March that it was unable to continue the service from the beginning of June but was asked, because of the COVID-19 situation, to continue until the beginning of October. It says it has been working with the county council "to ensure a smooth transition."

Earlier this month the charity announced its Arts and Crafts centre in Knaresborough will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

North Yorkshire County Council says it's seeking a way forward for Henshaws Arts and Craft Centre and the charity's Supported Living Services.  

The authority says it is "disappointed that the charity has now decided to close its Arts and Crafts Centre day service in Knaresborough permanently, without any consultation."

Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council Director of Health and Adult Services said:

“We were surprised and disappointed to hear this news. Henshaws is much-valued by many people and, along with the other councils that fund people to use their services, we would have expected to have been involved in early discussions about this kind of momentous decision.

"We will work with the charity and with people who use the Arts and Craft centre, and their families, to see what might be possible in the future.

"We know that families who use Henshaws’ Arts and Crafts Centre and Harrogate Home Care will be very concerned about the future.

"The county council is working hard with all concerned to ensure that a sustainable way forward can be found."

In a statement when the closure of the Arts and Crafts Centre was announced, Nick Marr said: 

"As we all now realise, the situation will take years to stabilise. The charity sector, like so many others is reeling from the impact.

“We are now consulting Centre staff about the future of their roles within the organisation.

"We also know that the Centre and its work are valued hugely by both the Art Makers and the local community.”

"This decision will undoubtedly cause a great deal of distress to our Art Makers and their families and all of our loyal volunteers, as well as to our staff, and we will do everything we can to help during these sad times but we find ourselves unable to continue to provide this service.

"The financial situation was stretched before lockdown but COVID 19 has had a huge financial impact on us."

Meanwhile a petition has now been started to save the Arts and Crafts centre.  

It was started by Knaresborough woman Caroline Dinsmore - you can view the petition here.  

Henshaws Specialist College has remained open to students throughout the crisis and the team say they're optimistic of strong numbers for the academic year starting in September.