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Vital social work service safeguarded for 18 months

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Vital social work service safeguarded for 18 months

A VITAL social work service which helps hundreds of Dumfries and Galloway residents in crisis every week has been safeguarded.

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Single Access Point team, which was at risk of folding due to lack of budget pressures, will be able to continue for at least another 18 months.

This protects the jobs of ten employees who field calls from around 800 members of the public every week, many of whom are often desperately seeking social work support in difficult times.

SNP Councillor Andy Ferguson was the former social work committee chairman up until last month when the SNP/Labour/Independent coalition running the council fell apart.

At last week’s full council meeting, Councillor Ferguson pleaded with the new Conservatives administration and new council leader to support the Single Access Point with funding.

The Conservatives agreed – and had incidentally drafted their own proposals to keep the Single Access Point running.

Councillor Ferguson said: “I believe that officers have demonstrated the history, the need, the purpose, and the future of the service.

“It’s set out very clearly in our motion which seeks the urgent continuation of funding.

“The funding, if agreed, will remove the need for ten members of staff currently on temporary contracts, for their contracts to be terminated.

“It will allow for the development of a valuable service for our citizens. This is a service which the current staffing of 21 is currently receiving around 800 calls per week from people who find themselves in some form or varying degree of crisis.

“After all, social work is unlike most other parts of the council that it deals almost exclusively with people facing some form of risk or need in their or their family’s life.”

The funding for the continuation of the Single Access Point service will come from a loan charges underspend available to the council.

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