SUFFOLK: Addicts forced to fend for themselves

DRUG charities have reacted with fury to the announcement their funding will be dramatically slashed, leaving many on the brink of closure.

Award-winning charities such as the Iceni Project, Focus 12 and NORCAS will be left to fend for themselves and fight for survival as a result of a shake-up that will see funding channelled into national organisations.

Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) has confirmed rumours that they are withdrawing funding from these Suffolk-based charities.

Instead, they have signed new contracts with the Crime Reduction Initiatives and Open Road, which are set to begin in April 2011.

Chip Somers, of Bury St Edmunds-based Focus12 – which has helped stars such as Russell Brand and Davina McCall – said that the loss of �130,000 of funding would devastate the charity.

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He said: “We are losing a third of our funding because of this decision.

“I think we are all extremely disappointed by it, because it appears that all our local knowledge and relationships in Suffolk are going to be lost and have been completely forgotten about.”

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NORCAS will be forced to withdraw drug services as a result of the announcement, said chief executive Maggie Williams.

“It is hugely disappointing. My over-riding concern is for the people of Suffolk who will clearly be massively affected after many years of good service are forgotten.”

Brian Tobin, who founded the Iceni Project in 1998, said that the decision threatened their very existence.

“As it stands, with no financial assistance, beyond March 2011 the charity will cease all operations but we are desperately hoping it doesn’t come to that.”

The DAAT partnership will be working with current contractors to transfer clients and eligible staff to the new providers.

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