NHS Highland withdraws funding from Cairdeas Cottage Day Services

We are extremely sad and disappointed to announce that NHS Highland has informed Support in Mind Scotland that they will not be renewing their agreement with us for the provision of day services in Inverness after June this year. This decision has been made following lengthy consultation with our members and members of HUG considering how we might work in partnership with the NHS provision from Bruce Gardens and we had hoped that the outcome would be a new integrated service.

Losing this contract is a huge blow for us as we have a long history in Inverness; but it is an even bigger blow for our members who value the service and the staff and feel let down that, having been invited to express their views, these views have been ignored.

At a meeting in Cairdeas this week, members expressed their concerns, talking about losing a “closely knit and welcoming community where people who are often excluded by the rest of society can come to find peer support and meaningful activity…somewhere where the ideas of resilience, self-management and recovery are embodied in the culture.” Some members also expressed their feelings of antipathy or anxiety about any contact with statutory services.

We are working with HUG to challenge this decision and letters have already been written by HUG to open this debate with politicians and officials in the Highlands and in the Scottish Parliament. This decision is not just about taking away from people an important and valued service, but undermines the principles of involvement, engagement and co-production that members and staff have believed to have been part of this process from the beginning.

Nicola Sturgeon, in Third Force News in February, gave an interview where she said she would be investing in the third sector like no other government before, believing in endowing more responsibility to groups in the shape of greater devolution of public services and funding: “If we change our thinking and see the third sector as a full delivery partner as opposed to just grant receiving organisations then we change the whole culture.” (TFN, Feb 25th, 2015)

With our members clearly expressing deep concern over the loss of a service they value and with such a clear commitment to partnership with the voluntary sector being made at the very top of Government, we will fight our case.

In the meantime, we must take care to support our members and staff who are facing a very uncertain and unsettling future.