Cheshire West and Chester Council transfers CLASP (Chester Lodgings and Support Providers) contract to new provider
A Chester-based charity has ceased operational activities supporting vulnerable tenants across West Cheshire after losing its council contract to a national organisation.
The Cheshire West and Chester Council contract represented 75% of the work carried out CLASP (Chester Lodgings and Support Providers) who helped tenants with a range of vulnerabilities maintain a good relationship with their landlord and manage their affairs.
The contract, along with CLASP’s four staff, have transferred to the Derbyshire-based P3 Charity with the future of CLASP now in jeopardy.
David Rooke, chair of the CLASP board, said “It is with great regret that the board had to make the decision following the transfer of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s contract, our biggest work area, to a new provider after a tendering competition.”
He said CLASP was initially set up in the 1990s to provide support to local landlords who were prepared to offer homes to people who might otherwise not have been able access rented accommodation from the council, housing associations or private landlords.
Mr Rooke, former head of housing at Chester City Council and former director of operations at Chester & District Housing Trust, said this funding was withdrawn a few years ago by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
He added: “Whilst CLASP was able to continue its activity in this area of work as part of a comprehensive service, including the provision of tenancy support to vulnerable people, the award of this contract to a new provider means that we can no longer cover the overheads and direct costs of providing the service.”
Mr Rooke said CLASP had also been forced to terminate a contract supporting NHS clients with mental health issues as funding for this service was only short-term and insufficient to sustain the organisation.
Mr Rooke added: “It was a sad day when the board reached this decision. The services we have provided have been locally based and extremely well received by everyone who has benefited from them. Whilst we have ceased operational activities, the charity still exists and it may be possible to find other ways in which we can support our communities who are searching for and trying to maintain tenancies that are sustainable and affordable.”
Over the past 10 years CLASP has helped over 800 people find accommodation and without this support many of them would have been facing homelessness.