Parenting service fears funding cuts

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BOSSES at a Bury St Edmunds scheme which provides help for teenage parents have voiced concerns over potential cuts to their funding.

Riverside ECHG, which celebrated its 10th anniversary at Acorn House. in Acacia Avenue. last week, is a national organisation which receives funding from a government initiative, Supporting People, but staff fear this funding could be cut by eight to 12 per cent in the next year.

Suffolk County Council has recently undertaken a review of all five teenage parent services in the county and a draft report is being finalised. A spokeswoman for the county said it could not provide funding figures at this stage in view of the review.

Keith Scanlon, Riverside area manager for Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, said he feared more funding would be channeled into adult care.

“Things may well become a struggle in the future,” he said.

Acorn House offers sheltered and supported accommodation to homeless or vulnerable teenage parents and helps them to develop life skills.

Young people gain help in managing finances and also receive peer mentoring.

The house is currently full with 13 residents.

Riverside has another scheme in Ipswich, based at Peppercorn Lodge which launched a campaign last year to raise its profile, forging links with the community and the media to improve public understanding of teenage parenthood. Mr Scanlon said a similar scheme was planned for Acorn House.