Rehab centre’s future in doubt as cuts loom

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Tom Harrison House. Pic © Tom Battison JMU Journalism

A veterans’ rehab centre in Anfield faces an uncertain future over potential cuts to its funding from Liverpool City Council.

Tom Harrison House is the only residential rehabilitation centre in the UK offering an exclusive service to military veterans, serving personnel, and their families.

But the level of funding could be reduced by more than half the current amount, which is £400,000 a year.

A spokesperson from the council said: “Our intention is to continue to provide funding, but it will be based specifically on the number of veterans from Liverpool that receive services.

“It is important to stress that no final decision has been taken and it is subject to further discussions.”

Tom Harrison House is named after an ex-serviceman who fought in WWII and the granddad of the charity’s founder, Paula Gunn.

Ms Gunn told JMU Journalism about her concerns over the rehab centre’s future, saying: “I just think we’re constantly facing the same struggle, so it’s very difficult.

“Over the weekend we can get a number of emails out of area, of people desperate to get into Tom Harrison House. We all know here that it can be anywhere up to six months to try and get funding for that person.”

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Dougie Dunsmore-Dawson, a strategist for Tom Harrison House, told JMU Journalism: “It’s the significance of the cut, near on 50% of our funding levels. We’ve got some time, but we’re really pressed for time.

“We need to find alternative sources, otherwise we’re at risk of closure ultimately. You can’t just take 50% out of the budget and expect it to continue.

“We’ve got to find alternative sources and really we’re looking at national funding. Tom Harrison House is a national asset – we get clients from all over the country.

“It comes at a critical time really. It would be terrible for this resource that’s just getting into its stride, so to speak, to hit the buffers.

Mr Dunsmore-Dawson stressed that the charity doesn’t blame Liverpool City Council and understands its decision, although new funds are required by December.

A graduate of the rehab programme, Chris Newton, a former military man who completed his treatment over three years ago, still volunteers at the charity.

He told JMU Journalism: “It would be disastrous to the community if this centre closed. I think a lot of people if it were to close, would go back to their old ways of life.”

 

 

About Tom Battison, JMU Journalism