Social work director recommends financial rescue of Starter Packs Angus

A £25,000 rescue package is being prepared by Angus Council for a project which helps to get the area’s vulnerable citizens on their feet when they hit personal problems.

Since 2003 Starter Packs Angus (SPA) has helped thousands of people by providing basic household and personal care items to help them secure a safe place to live.

A combination of factors has now led the charity to the edge of a funding abyss and on Thursday social work councillors will rule on a recommendation to give the group a five-figure lifeline to help it remain afloat.

In a report to councillors, social work director Dr Robert Peat said, “A unique aspect of SPA is that it is able to support anyone who finds himself or herself in need of the service.

“Young and old, men and women, single people and families are welcome to apply for a pack without feeling the need to categorise themselves with a particular label.”

He added, “An important element of SPA is the growing number of volunteers, many of whom have used the service in the past, who put together the packs on a daily basis and undertake numerous other tasks to support the smooth running of the project.”

The body is also part of a consortium which responded to a tender process launched by the council at the end of last year for the supply of recycled furniture and other essential goods required by homeless and vulnerable people in the county.
‘Important preventative spending’

Dr Peat said, “Whilst SPA is part of a consortium providing starter packs for those who are homeless, they also support a significant number of other people who are vulnerable and in need for a variety of reasons.”

They include lone parents, children living in families which are experiencing hardship, older people at risk of homelessness and those affected by addictions.

Dr Peat said, “SPA provides around 350 starter packs per annum and since its inception has met the needs of more than 3500 of the most disadvantaged and isolated people in Angus.

“SPA is able to raise funds through a range of activities and also receives annual funding of £5000 from NHS Tayside.

“This year NHS Tayside has been able to contribute a further £5000 to assist with SPA’s financial shortfall.”

He added, “The annual operating costs are around £50,000 and a contribution of up to £25,000 from Angus Council would enable SPA to continue to provide a much-needed service to people in Angus who are vulnerable for a number of reasons.

“This is important preventative spending. This early intervention will hopefully divert some people from the need for more intensive support from the council, in particular social work services in the future.”