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Charity grant axe fears 'premature'

PUBLISHED: 05:49 26 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:12 24 February 2010

A HEALTH Trust has insisted fears it is axing a grant to a Colchester-based charity are “premature”.

Headway Essex, which offers rehabilitation and support for people living with brain injuries in Essex, issued a statement earlier this week saying it feared it would end up £56,000 in the red after a funding review by the Colchester Primary Care Trust (PCT).

A HEALTH Trust has insisted fears it is axing a grant to a Colchester-based charity are “premature”.

Headway Essex, which offers rehabilitation and support for people living with brain injuries in Essex, issued a statement earlier this week saying it feared it would end up £56,000 in the red after a funding review by the Colchester Primary Care Trust (PCT).

Christopher White-Thomson, trustee of Headway Essex, said: “The Colchester PCT took on the payment of an annual grant, which had been given to us by the health authority for the past 12 years. Recently, we were informed that the PCT was considering whether to continue with this important funding.

“The possibility that this financial support could come to an end was naturally of great concern to Headway Essex.”

Headway is the only local charity providing long-term care for victims of brain injuries and treats more than 60 sufferers each year and helps more than 250 families across the county.

It said the repercussions of any cut backs would be “immediate and very distressing” for the people that rely on its help.

Mr White-Thomson said: “Our current provision of services for the care of people in north Essex is significant.

“Without ongoing financial support we would not be able to maintain those services at the present level.”

And MP for Colchester, Bob Russell, has been using Headway's potential cash crisis as a case study in a House of Commons discussion.

His debate, which coincided with the release of the charity's statement, urges the Government to invest more in brain injury rehabilitation services.

Mr Russell, who is chairman of the all-party Parliamentary acquired brain injury group, said: “Only a couple of days before my debate, I learned from Colchester Headway that far from additional resources being made available they were faced with a massive reduction if proposals by the primary care trust took place.

“Many Headway groups are struggling financially just to survive, although they are providing a vital service for those with brain injuries and saving the state a fortune. Such groups need more resources, not fewer.”

But a spokesman for Colchester Primary Care Trust said Headway's financial worry was untimely.

He said: “This is a bit premature. No decision has yet been taken by the PCT for future funding.

“On Tuesday there will be a public meeting where this will be discussed. A number of organisations are making bids for professional development funding from the PCT, including Headway.

“So the PCT can have no position on the grant for Headway until it has been debated at this meeting.”

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