Advocacy Alliance to close after losing almost all its income

Chief executive Vicki Airs says the charity, which provides advocacy for people with learning disabilities, missed out on contracts to a national organisation

Vicki Airs
Vicki Airs

Advocacy Alliance is to close after losing almost all its income, with the loss of 30 jobs and 70 volunteer posts.

The charity, which had a turnover of £1.11m in the year to March 2011, was created in 1993 to provide advocacy for people with learning disabilities. It has offices in Bedford, Luton and Northampton.

The organisation said in a statement that it had suffered funding cuts worth £171,000, as well as losing £929,000 of public service contracts.

The charity had contracts to provide advocacy services from Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Borough Council but they were rolled into two larger contracts which the charity did not win.

The contracts, which would have been worth £1m, were awarded to a national organisation.

Vicki Airs, chief executive of the charity, said total funding for advocacy in the area had been badly hit and said she believed many other charities were in the same position.

"A lot of the sector has been stripped to the bare bones," she said. "Our organisation isn't the only one that's gone to the wall. The whole sector is really under severe pressure, remaining organisations are heavily oversubscribed, and there a lot of vulnerable people out there who aren't going to get the support they need."

The charity will attempt to transfer active cases to other organisations by the end of March, when most of its staff will be made redundant.

Seven staff will be transferred to other organisations under employment regulations. However Airs said there were not enough posts for all of them, so she expected some to be made redundant.

Four staff will remain at work until June to help people who cannot find support elsewhere and to wrap up its finances.

Members will vote next month to decide which charities will receive any remaining assets.

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