Drug rehabilitation homes face closure

Supported living project goes into administration due to lack of referrals and funding issues.

A BARNSTAPLE charity that provides supported accommodation for adults with drug and alcohol problems has gone into administration.

The Bethany Project, which runs five sites in the town, says a lack of referrals and a reduction in funding is forcing the closure of its rehabilitation service, which helps people kick their habits and start new lives.

Acting chairman Andy Munday told the Gazette that there were a total of 33 vacant spaces across the project.

He said: “Despite strong assurances when we set up the family assessment flat, we just haven’t had the referrals.

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“We’ve tried to provide a local service for local people but it isn’t financially viable to run the project with the voids we have in the rooms.”

The Bethany Project owns the Oak House, formerly known as The Gables, in St George’s Road, and Boyton House in Bear Street.

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It rents The Maples, also in St George’s Road, from Sanctuary Housing, and manages privately-rented sites in Pulchrass Street and Newport Road.

Mr Munday said six full-time members of staff would be made redundant and that the assets would be sold unless a benefactor could be found.

“The project will have to totally close unless a benefactor is able to step forward and bridge the gap in finances,” he said.

“It’s been a really sad time – the residents are individuals who for a snap-shot in their lives need additional support and assistance. Some may be made homeless, others might be taken on by a private landlord.”

Mr Munday said that project had also been hit by a reduction in funding from the Government’s Supporting People programme, and from Housing Benefit.

“There is nothing else in North Devon that can offer comparable services and support,” he added.

David Kirk, of Kirk Hills insolvency practitioners, confirmed that the project went into administration last week due to financial difficulties.

He said: “We are continuing to run the six properties that are owned by BP.

“We are looking at all options to keep the project going for the benefit of the residents.

“If there is a local or national charity or donor who wishes to invest to help keep the project going that would be great.

“We are working with Devon County Council and they have been very helpful.”

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