West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has written to West Lancashire CCG and Virgin Care asking for an update on the promises made at the time of the award of the Community Care contract to the private provider Virgin Care that money would be made available for investment into the voluntary, community and faith sector (VCFS). The local CVS, who’s CEO is also a member of the CCG governing body, had secured an in principle agreement that a percentage of the health contracts would be made available to local West Lancs VCFS organisations.
They won a commitment from the CCG during 2017 for an additional and recurrent VCFS investment fund of £100k. Nearly two years on, things appear to have gone very quiet, and local charities have approached Rosie Cooper MP for support, asking what has happened to this money? Has it been distributed? If so where?
Most recently, MP Rosie met with Disability Advice West Lancashire (DAWL) Chief Tony Lewis and his team of Trustees and volunteers to discuss the current situation and concerns around funding. “We have got some phenomenal people and organisations here in West Lancashire striving to support, advise and help some of our most vulnerable residents. But cuts to funding budgets and contracts mean many of these struggle year to year and even month to month, to the point where they are having to consider closing down if funding doesn’t materialise.
“Many of these charities were wooed by talk of hundreds of thousands of pounds being made available in our area following the tendering of services by West Lancashire CCG to Virgin Care, but nearly two years on no one appears to have seen this money. The Vice Chair of the CCG Greg Mitten, who is also Chief of the Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) assured DAWL that opportunities were coming but here we are, there’s no money and charities are struggling to keep going.
“I’ve written to the CCG, CVS and to Virgin Care to ask just where this money is, what’s the plan and urging them to get on with dishing it out before it’s too late and we see these organisations ceasing. These agencies should keep their word and ensure all the promised support is given to these charities to ensure they can continue to carry out their work helping West Lancashire constituents”.
Meanwhile Virgin Care tax exile Branson has recently said he wants to go into space and visit the moon using his own rocket, and we see every reason to hope it is a one way journey ?