Staff at Faith in Families’ three Swansea centres have been given a last-minute reprieve after the Welsh Government confirmed Communities First funding will continue until June.
Staff at the Penplas, Bonymaen and Clase centres had faced an uncertain Christmas after Communities Secretary Carl Sargeant said was “minded to phase out” the anti-poverty programme.
Communities First accounts for 79% of the centres’ funding, and the charity had warned it would be forced to start the redundancy process for staff without it.
It has now been confirmed that the programme will remain in place until the end of June, with “any changes taking place thereafter”.
Faith in Families CEO Cherrie Bija said: “Faith in Families is reassured that the sharp closing of our Family Centres is not imminent after receiving the information this morning.
“However, it is vital that we continue hearing your stories of the impact our family centres have had on our communities, sharing with Welsh Government the transformational changes that have been achieved in people’s lives, holding onto our values that ‘People Matter’.
“We need to continue engaging with the Minister as he evaluates the Communities First Programme and designs the way forward.”
Faith in Families, part of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon’s Board of Social Responsibility – the DBSR – is currently transforming St Teilo’s Church, above, in Swansea into a £1m community hub. Half the money for that project is being provided by the Welsh Government.
Ms Bija said: “The closing of three established family centres in Swansea at a time where two brand new million pound centres are being built would erode the trust that has been developed over decades and have huge consequences, for minimal saving.
“As difficult decisions are made we need to persist in evidencing the effect Faith in Families continues to have on our communities. That quality, innovative, grassroot, community-led, professionally-delivered services are cost effective and fundamental, if we are to continue tackling poverty together.”