Call to City Council to save Hawkspring

Karin Smyth MPLabour MP Karin Smyth has submitted a statement to Bristol City Council, ahead of its Full Council meeting on Tuesday 21 July, calling on the elected Mayor to step in and prevent the closure of Hartcliffe-based Hawkspring drug and alcohol service.

The statement in full is below.

Karin Smyth added: “If Hawkspring closes it highlights a failure of the commissioning model as being totally inflexible. There appears to be no sense of responsibility or support for those organisations which fall outside of the model. I want to see the council’s Health & Wellbeing Board, which is co-chaired by the elected mayor, taking a lead on this to fulfil its leadership role and support people who need this service”

Closure of Hawkspring

I was extremely concerned and disappointed to learn last week that Hartcliffe-based Hawkspring drug and alcohol service plans to close at the end of August due to lack of funding.

Hawkspring, which was created following the merger of two local charities, Hawks and Kwads, brought together a combined experience of over 30 years’ delivery of vital support. Hawkspring’s community based approach has proved to be highly effective, enabling the charity to help 900 people since its creation and reaching those who may not have otherwise accessed support. Hawkspring epitomises the resilience, dedication and commitment to their own community of the people of south Bristol.

Bristol City Council has been aware of the closure threat for many months. I know my predecessor, Dawn Primarolo MP, worked very hard to support Hawkspring and made numerous representations to the Council on behalf of the charity. Before and since my election in May I have also offered my support to Hawkspring as they are clearly filling a gap in current provision.

My question to the Council and other health commissioners is where and how thosepeople who need the services currently provided by Hawkspring will access the support they require. There will be an inevitable increase in demand on social services, GP services and A & E.

The purpose of the Health and Wellbeing Board is to co-ordinate the commissioning and services across the NHS, social care and voluntary sector for the benefit and wellbeing of local people. Its responsibilities include being a driver for change and a local leader across social care and public health services. With an increase in demand from drug and alcohol users and their families, never has the need for leadership been more important.

If Hawkspring closes next month the impact on local communities will be devastating. Today I call upon the Mayor, at this late hour, to step in and prevent the closure of this invaluable organisation.

Karin Smyth MP