How Norwood deal with £4m shortfall

November 4, 2010

Norwood is one of the charities hardest hit by local authority cuts. It formerly received almost £20 million a year from more than 60 councils and chief executive Norma Brier says the loss of £4 million from that budget has required "very significant decisions.

"We are 215-years-old, we've always served the community's most vulnerable children and adults. But with such a dramatic realisation of the economic downturn, we really need the community at this time."

Front-line care staff will have their wages cut and 20 per cent of head office staff will be made redundant. The charity is also cutting supplier costs and piloting technology to replace some night monitoring by staff.

The cuts are a double whammy as the economic crisis has also led to an increase in demand for Norwood's support and family services. "The issue is how to keep all of our services available to all those people who need them.

"If we don't make these changes, the services are in jeopardy."

Norwood will be trying to attract an extra "make or break" £1 million in community donations. It is open to collaboration with other learning disabled charities such as Langdon and Kisharon, but is wary of risking investment in new joint projects.

Mrs Brier stressed that operating at a loss was not an option. "The budget is always to break even. The community would not want to support us if they didn't feel our finances were in order.

"We certainly don't want to subject our staff to this kind of gruelling agony again."

Last updated: 3:32pm, January 5 2011