West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2015-11-03
End date: 2015-12-14
Results: 2016-03-03

[ARCHIVED] Budget Proposal 2016/17 - Phase One: Friends in Need

Part of the range of West Berkshire Council's budget proposals for 2016/17, with supporting information and Equality Impact Assessments

If you haven't already seen our video explaining why these changes are being proposed, please visit our Budget Proposals 2016/17 webpage.


The Friends in Need service is delivered by Depression Alliance, a national charity. It supports people with depression to maintain recovery and wellbeing by developing strong local networks of like-minded people. This is done by building up social support networks for people with depression; providing an opportunity for people to meet online and face-to- face in local communities, to share experiences by doing ordinary things like having a coffee or going for a walk, and just simply reminding each other that they are not alone. The service can reach older, isolated people and those with long term conditions who find it difficult to get out.

The service in West Berkshire has been funded jointly with the Newbury and District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the council and costs £50,000 per annum which is shared equally by each organisation. In the first year, the target for the number of people to be referred to the service was 500, however only 80 people were referred over the first 7 months.


It is proposed that council funding for the service be discontinued from April 2016 saving £25,000.

What do we think the impact will be?

With this decrease of funding it is unlikely that the Friends in Need Project will be able to continue. There are other services available including a new on-line service for people with depression being launched in October by Talking Therapies, the counselling service funded by the NHS. This service will be available for people with depression however it cannot address the loneliness and isolation which predisposes to depression, and is not preventive in the same way Friends In Need is and also will not offer the face to face peer support sessions. 

What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

We are currently discussing with the Clinical Commissioning Groups how the service may be reconfigured given the small number of clients that access the service.

This consultation is now closed.

What you told us

We received 7 responses to this consultation.

We have condensed all your comments into the 'Summary of Responses' and everything you said, word for word, is contained in 'Verbatim Responses'.

These can be found in 'Documents' below.

What we did

A recommendation on how to proceed with this proposal was made to the Executive Members on 11 February 2016.

This can also be found below in 'Overview and Recommendation'.

Following this, at the Full Council Meeting on 1 March 2016, all Members discussed this proposal as part of setting the Revenue Budget for 2016/17.

At the vote, the budget was agreed with the suggested amendments.

It was agreed to continue to fund this service at the current level.

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