Exclusive: closure threatened charity worth 11 million a year to Glasgow

Gamh demo web

​Report finds that for every £2million invested in GAMH, there is a return of £11m

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5th December 2014 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Millions of pounds will be squandered if funding is pulled from a closure-threatened frontline charity in Glasgow.

A report into the workings of the Glasgow Association of Mental Health (GAMH), seen by TFN, shows that for an annual investment of £2.1million, it provides a return of £11.1m.

Despite this, Glasgow City Council has said it wants to withdraw its support from the service – a move which will see its income drop by 40% and effectively shut it down.

GAMH helps more than 1,000 people a week, including some of society most vulnerable who struggle with problems such as paranoia, schizophrenia, depression and personality disorders.

Closing a charity like this will end up costing the city money

Doctors, addiction services, housing associations and hospitals all refer clients to it for treatments.

Staff and service users say that if GAMH closes, the cost will be pushed onto other services and ultimately the taxpayer.

An as yet unreleased, independent report – entitled Housing Support Service Social Return on Investment – underlines the charity’s worth.

Its summary states: “Using the Social Return On Investment (SROI) framework to calculate the total value created for these services gave an SROI index figure of 1:6. 

“So for every pound spent on these services, the social return over the full five years for which the impact of the service was measured was £6. 

“In financial terms this means that for the annual investment of £2.1 million, a full value over the period is created of £11.1 million.”

This is despite the fact that GAMH has faced direct funding reductions of 11% since 2007.

An independent report commissioned by GAMH entitled Housing Support Service Social Return on Investment contains the statement in the executive summary

“Using the SROI framework to calculate the total value created for these services gave an SROI index figure of 1:6. So for every pound spent on these services, the social return over the full five years for which the impact of the service was measured was £6. In financial terms this means that for the annual investment of £2.1 million, a full value over the period is created of £11.1 million”.

GAMH staff and service users are to stage a demo outside Glasgow City Chambers as councillors hold a full council meeting on Thursday.

The meeting won’t make any decision on GAMH funding, but the demo is intended as a lobby to highlight the charity’s plight.

Trade union Unison has vowed to fight the cuts and made a dire warning of the service “melt down” if the cuts go ahead.

Official Deborah Dyer said: “People will end up in acute beds, in police cells and on the street. Closing a charity down, which is effectively what they are doing, is irresponsible. The council is demanding they provide a city-wide service while making cuts at 40%.

"GAMH has realistically said it can't offer a city-wide service and warned them it would put the whole viability of the charity at risk.

"The council is hoping this will just disappear quietly to hide the fact they are in crisis with their budget. This isn't how you treat people.

"The leader of the council is advocating that he will look after the health and mental wellbeing of the people of Glasgow - he's not doing that.

"I don't believe there has been proper consultation as closing a charity like this will end up costing the city money."

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "The majority of service users who use GAMH are not known to social work, but those who are known to social work will continue to be supported by Social Work Services.

"We do not ask providers to respond to people as an alternative to receiving statutory support from the council and if people require statutory support, that will be provided.

"The council's budget for the next financial year has still to be agreed and so decisions on individual funding awards have still to be taken.

"The council has been under substantial financial pressure in recent years and it has been widely anticipated that we are still expected to find further savings."

"Where appropriate we have been working with providers to inform them of the reality of the public finances so they can plan accordingly."