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An award-winning Birmingham charity which provides services to many of the city’s rough sleepers has been saved by closure by an 11th hour grant... but will forced to cut its weekend opening hours.
SIFA Fireside, along with 28 other organisations across Birmingham, was dealt a hammer blow when it lost its funding to deliver outreach drug and alcohol services. The city-wide contract has been given to the Crime Reduction Unit (CRI), who deliver similar services across the UK.
The previous contact made up almost half of the charity’s funding, leaving their future hanging in the balance. They have now secured a smaller grant from the council’s public health fund, but drop-ins will only run Monday to Friday from March.
Cath Gilvery, chief executive of SIFA Fireside, said: “Before we received this grant, it seemed as if we would have to close at the end of February. Thankfully that is not the case, but we have been in quite a state of uncertainty for several months.”
She said she was extremely sorry to lose the weekend drop-in. “It feels very important,” she added. “It’s somewhere people can come and get a shower, a cup of tea and a friendly chat. That can make all the difference.”