The Mayor of Ripon has urged residents to show their support for Ripon Community Link, fearing that any prolonged negativity over cuts to its services could threaten the charity’s long-term survival.
A sudden reorganisation and scale back of the Link has left little time for 12 of its service users with more complex needs to find alternative care, and 12 staff redundancies were announced.
Devastated families say they are continuing to look for answers, and Valerie Cocker, whose son Stephen is no longer being supported by the Link, said she feels that none of her family’s questions have been answered adequately by management.
But the Mayor, Coun Pauline McHardy, who has supported Ripon Community Link as her mayoral charity, said what has happened must not affect public support for the Link in the long term.
She said Ripon residents should continue to get behind the Link’s fundraising efforts to support its remaining 65 members, emphasising the importance of the charity’s survival after 28 years of serving the city.
The Mayor said: “We realise that recently Ripon Community Link has been getting negative comments and publicity in various ways.
“But we have to start thinking more positively if the Link is going to survive for the future and for its members.
“It’s important that people get behind the Link in the same way that they have in the past. It’s a unique organisation that is a lifeline for families. We really feel for the families, the carers, parents and guardians of the 12 people who have had to find alternative arrangements for their support, and we have to hope that all goes well for them in the future.
"And it is also disappointing that staff have had to leave the Link when they obviously enjoyed their work.
“Ripon Community Link must have been in an exceptionally difficult position to arrive at their decision. However, it is my understanding that there are 65 people who are still receiving support, and we have to ensure that people get behind them.”
Ripon residents will have an opportunity to speak about the Link at Ripon City Council’s full council meeting on Monday, where the charity has been listed as an agenda item.
The latest statement from Ripon Community Link reads: “Over the last few weeks we have met with the families of a number of service users on a one-to-one basis, where we listened to their concerns and explained first-hand why we were left with no option but to take the course of action forced upon us.
“We understand from commissioners that all 12 service users have been offered an alternative placement. Our focus is now very much on securing the long-term future of the charity.”
Pick up your copy of this week's Ripon Gazette for reader letters about Ripon Community Link.