Rob Wilson MP Helps Secure Future Funding for Alana House
For the second time in recent years, Mr Wilson has stepped in to stop funding to the centre being either withdrawn or reduced. This funding arrives in the nick of time as the centre was due to run out of resources by the end of March this year. Alana House in South Street, central Reading provides support to some 300 women from across Reading and West Berkshire who are at risk of offending. With a small team of five staff and volunteers, the centre works with a number of local agencies such as the NHS and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau to provide a one-stop-shop of help and support.
This good news follows on from a politically motivated attack on Mr Wilson from the newly selected Reading East Labour candidate, who made a fool of himself by failing to check his facts or even visit the centre in the ward he was elected to represent.
The confirmation of further funding to keep the centre running until March 2014, came shortly before the visit of Helen Grant MP, Minister for Victims and the Courts at The Ministry of Justice, to Alana House. On 7th February Mrs Grant went to see for herself the vital work that Alana House does for women who are experiencing problems or whose life circumstances and behaviour have been shown to them at risk of offending. The centre has been successfully helping women since it opened in 2009 and provides the courts with an alternative to custodial sentences in order to help vulnerable women tackle their problems.
Helen Grant’s visit followed intense behind the scenes and public lobbying by the Reading East MP, including raising the matter on the floor of the House on 18 December 2012. The funding that Rob has helped secure means that Alana House can continue to go on to help many more women in the future and continue the good work that it does in Reading.
Rob said: “This is good news, I have fought extremely hard to continue funding for Alana House and today we achieved a great result for the centre and for the women who turn to them in their time of need. I am extremely grateful to the minister for listening and for coming to see the service on the ground for herself. Nobody can doubt my commitment to Alana House having saved its funding under two consecutive Governments. But it’s time for someone to give it some honest advice and some tough love and I suppose that, as a friend, it falls to me. I’m not sure it will get straight advice anywhere else.”
“It is now important that Alana House uses the time and space that this funding has given them to increase its own funding streams. It cannot go on having a hand to mouth existence and running the risk of almost closing as it has again. With the best will in the world public money is very tight and public money is unlikely to continue to cover the bulk of its costs. Now the issue for Alana House is to get out there and work with potential donors to give it a financially secure future. I am happy to assist. I know that many associated with Alana House are very disappointed by the negative and unhelpful attitude that the local Labour Party has taken. At a time when it could have worked with us to secure the funding, it simply carped and seemed to want me to fail. That is very sad to see in a political Party.”
Jan Fishwick, Chief Executive of PACT, the organisation that runs Alana House, said: “We are delighted to announce that Alana House services have received full funding for 2013/14 courtesy of Thames Valley Probation and J P Getty charitable trust. We are very grateful to all involved in achieving this outcome and we will continue to work hard to ensure we can continue to support the 300 vulnerable women that rely on this service for many more years. We are pleased that Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East, raised awareness of the need to continue funding Alana House services in Parliament, and arranged for Helen Grant the Minister for Justice to visit Alana House last week in order to see first-hand the holistic approach we take in order to address a wide variety of complex issues in order to help transform the lives of hundreds of local women.”