Bristol deaf centre loses council funding

The Centre for Deaf People in Bristol is to lose its funding from the city council. The authority says the centre, which has been based in the city for 125 years, does not provide a good quality service.

The city council said it is making £240,000 of cuts to voluntary sector grants.

John Maslen, the centre’s chief executive, said staff had given the best quality service they could offer.

The centre, which offers social activities, employment and training, is now threatened with closure.

Funding is due to end on 1 November. The centre looking into how it can raise money itself.

‘Devastating news’

Mr Maslen called for a rethink.

“It’s devastating news,” he said. “We have worked tirelessly to make sure that we give the best quality service we can offer.

“We’re all well aware of the savings that have to be made in the country and the local authority and are sympathetic to it.

“Dialogue has been very sparse with little consultation and we are deeply disappointed and devastated that there hasn’t been more full and proper budget saving consultation prior to this announcement.”

Alison Comley, strategic director of health and social care at Bristol City Council, said there was a voluntary sector budget of just over £4m which covered about 50 different organisations.

She said last year the council worked with the organisations to discuss how best to make the £240,000 savings.

The Centre for Deaf People was not able to provide information on “a number of areas”, she said.

“We’re not planning to cut services to the deaf community,” she said.

“We’re not in a position to offer a grant to this organisation but we’ve got every intention to reprovide the services through a tendering process.

“It may well be the Centre for Deaf People want to bid for that work.”