Tightening Belts to Make Ends Meet

We all understand that we live in an age of belt tightening as local authorities trim their budgets as their masters in Whitehall continue to seek to reduce the national debt burden.

Unfortunately that means that vulnerable groups become even more exposed, and in my own county of Norfolk we are currently digesting the news of a package of £167,000,000 of cuts.

These include a Sinful reduction in care services for vulnerable children and the removal of free transport for adult care service users, but to my mind, one of the saddest victims of the cuts is the axing of the Healthy Schools Norfolk service.

Recognising the formative role of schools in the development of an individual, the service worked with schools and pupils to encourage healthier lifestyles and to provide practical advice and support on issues such as drug use and bullying. In other words, it was a direct investment in the future of Norfolk's young people which has now been sacrificed to subsidise the mess caused by the greed and irresponsibility of bankers.

Inevitably when local government pulls out, the hole created has to be filled by charities and in this area the county is fortunate to have Nurture's Saintly Charity of the Year, the Benjamin Foundation. The Foundation was set up 20 years ago to help young people in the county and now provides a myriad of services, including working in over 60 Norfolk schools to support children and parents with a range of issues. Every service that they deliver (and you can find full details at http://www.benjaminfoundation.co.uk) has at its core the ambition to provide the people they support with hope, opportunity, stability and independence.

We are working closely with the team there and over the year will be taking part in a number of fund raising events for them. My own contribution will be to drag my old and aching body around a 10 kilometre course in May and if you would like to sponsor me then you can do so at http://www.mycharitypage.com/RobinSainty

All donations will be gratefully received and I'm sure my lovely colleagues will make sure that embarrassing post race photos appear on the website in due course!

Robin Sainty APFS M.A. (Cantab)