ASPIRE Ryde said it had been forced to close many of its mental health services after the Isle of Wight NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) reneged on an agreement to fund them.

It said the CCG, the organisation than plans and buys health services on the Island, had not paid the £7,500 it had promised.

As a result, it will have to close the services at the end of this month.

Aspire Ryde provides a number of support services to vulnerable people, in addition to its other community work.

Heath Monaghan, founder and chief executive of Aspire Ryde, said: “After losing a funding stream in February, we told the CCG we couldn’t afford to continue offering our services.

“Then, in May, we has a call from the CCG. They told me not to close our services, and specifically promised they would fund them.

“We negotiated an agreement, and they promised multiple times they would fund our services.

“We continued offering these services on the understanding we would be paid, but we never heard anything from the CCG.

“We didn’t hear anything until — out of the blue — we were called to say ‘funding priorities had changed’ and we would not be getting our money.

“There were no discussions, no communication from them.

“We’re now £7,500 out of pocket. That might not sound like much, but we run on a shoestring budget and make every penny count.

“This loss is forcing us to make huge cutbacks — way bigger than if we had stopped providing these services when we said we had to back in February.”

When contacted by the County Press, the CCG did not respond directly to Aspire Ryde’s claim it had reneged on its £7,500 funding pledge.

However, James Seward, locality director at the CCG, said: “Our Mental Health Blueprint, developed with service users and providers, sets out a significant transformation programme for mental health services on the Island.

“Our focus is to ensure the most appropriate care is provided in the right place and at the right time and the wider community and the voluntary sector will continue to play a vital role in this transformation work.

“We acknowledge all that Aspire Ryde has been doing to help people with mental health support needs and we appreciate the work they do.

“We had discussed the opportunity for Aspire, together with other voluntary organisations that work with those who have mental health support needs, to bid for small grants funds from a ‘one-off’ pot of money.

“We have needed to pause these discussions so we can fully consider all possible support options to ensure we provide the best possible mental health.”

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