16 December 2015
At this time of year we realise, more than ever, how much local charities and community organisations contribute to life in Stockport.
It’s great to see so much going on – Christmas Fairs, local Christmas markets, carol services and concerts, lunch for over-60s groups – which all bring people together and include those amongst us who might otherwise feel lonely at Christmas.
Many people rely on local groups which are mainly run by volunteers, but sadly these small groups are under financial pressure and face uncertainty about the future. Grants have been cut or reduced, and the Council is in the process of completely re-organising the way they work with local charities.
As a result, the smaller volunteer-led groups have gone through a lot of uncertainty about their funding. For example, I was very sorry to hear that Oasis for Carers has lost its funding and may struggle to carry on. Oasis, based in Cale Green, is a small volunteer-led group for carers. It offers a lifeline to unpaid carers, whether looking after a family member with a disability, a mental health problem, or dementia. For the past 18 years, Oasis has run a weekly support group, giving carers counselling support, massage, one-to-one advice or just a quiet ambience away from the 24-hour pressures of caring for their loved one at home.
Small groups like Oasis don’t require much funding, but they provide a great service. If they go under, then unfortunately it’s very difficult to see how they can get started again. I think it’s a great pity that these groups could be squeezed out in Stockport’s funding re-organisation. Looking after vulnerable people in our communities is so important, especially at Christmas time.
I wish everyone a Very Happy and peaceful Christmas.