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UNISON Northern Ireland
UNISON Northern Ireland signed this petition

The Supporting People Programme provides vulnerable people with support to live independently in the community, including through the provision of specialist housing or hostels.  The Programme supports at least 19,000 people every year.

This programme benefits a wide range of groups including the homeless; persons with disabilities; persons with mental health issues and those with a learning disability; older people; women at risk of domestic violence; young people at risk; and people with addiction issues. 

UNISON members in the sector work hard to provide these vital services, but are doing so under increasing pressure and are suffering pay cuts or pay freezes and an erosion of their terms and conditions because of a lack of funding. 

UNISON believes that vulnerable people and our members are suffering because funding is not rising to match demand and the increasing cost of providing services.

These cuts have taken place despite evidence showing that every £1 spent on the programme saves the public £1.90 elsewhere. 

Our members work is vital in easing the pressure on health, social services and probation services and this must be recognised.    

We say enough is enough – the Supporting People Programme cannot continue to be an easy target for cuts.

UNISON is calling for the Department for Communities, the NI Housing Executive and all other Government Departments and public bodies with responsibilities in this area to:

1. Immediately reverse the cuts that have taken place.

2. Immediately review all funding arrangements that community and voluntary sector employers have to provide services under the Programme and make sure that workers are not exploited.  This should be fully transparent and must involve UNISON.

3. Commission an independent, expert-led review into the Supporting People Programme, with full UNISON involvement and engagement, to make recommendations on the level of funding that is required to meet need and ensure our members are properly paid for the vital work that they do.

Sign the petition and join our demonstration outside the Department for Communities on Bedford Street, Belfast on the 7th November at 1pm.

All those interested in supporting the campaign are welcome.