Leonard Cheshire Disability is considering closing down its award-winning service user support team in an effort to cut costs.
The charity, the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of care and support services for disabled people, is consulting on proposals to transfer the role of service user support to its Service User Networking Association (Suna).
The service user support team was set up to provide training and support to service users 13 years ago, and won a Community Care Excellence Network award only last year.
The team also helped to develop Suna, an independent organisation developed and led by the disabled people LCD supports.
But LCD said there was now an “overlap in both effort and cost” between Suna and the original support team.
A spokesperson said: “In the current financial climate with pressure on all third sector organisations, we have to address this.”
As a result, LCD is considering closing the support team, increasing funding for Suna by a quarter and providing it with its own dedicated support team.
This would create a “number of new roles” and LCD has said it would look to redeploy the original support team “where possible”.
A source told Community Care that about 30 people from the service user support team would be affected, but LCD could not confirm this.
The source said the service user support team members were all “absolutely fuming” and that the announcement had “brought up a lot of bad feeling” at LCD.
But a spokesperson for LCD said: “In any organisation, it is good practice to review activities from time to time.
“We are looking at options to both improve how we deliver our services but also to make best use of our available resources. No decisions have been taken.”