Shock funding decision closes advice centre

Possability People is reeling after the shock news that funding for its advice centre is being cut after receiving a letter from the CCG and Brighton and Hove City Council.

Possability People have been running their Advice Centre for 30 years and are now faced with an 85% cut in funding, meaning they will be closing their doors to people wanting help with anything relating to disability, from equipment grants and Blue Badges to bus passes, housing, help with care, food bank referrals, welfare benefits and allowances.

In 2018, the centre

• Dealt with 2200 people face to face, and

• Handled 4468 enquiries

With three part time staff and a bank of volunteers, most of whom are themselves disabled people or living with long term health conditions, the service is unique in the city because it provides a specialist service in an accessible building, for anyone with mental and physical health conditions. It also supports their families and carers as well as other professionals.

Geraldine Des Moulins, Possability People’s Chief Executive says:

“Yet again, disabled people – often the most vulnerable people in our society, are bearing the brunt of funding decisions made without any real understanding of the impact they will have. We are keenly aware of the financial pressures health and social care services are under but we can’t see how this will be a real saving as the first thing most people do in a crisis with no-where else to turn is go to their GP”.

Caroline Lucs, MP for Brighton Pavillion says:

“Possability People’s advice centre is a vital service that has supported many of my constituents to successfully challenge incorrect disability benefit decisions, and helped them to get the support they need. For NHS commissioners to pretend that there isn’t a link between health and wellbeing, and accessing timely disability benefits advice when people are in crisis and struggling to cope, is hugely short-sighted and counterproductive, as I have made clear to the CCG.

“I struggle to believe that other advice agencies in the city have the capacity fill the gap left by the closure of Possability People’s advice service. And with Possability People specialising in disability advice, I fear that many vulnerable residents in the city will be left unsupported when they desperately need assistance.”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven says:

“I am shocked by the CCG’s handling of this matter, giving only a few weeks notice on a decision which will affect hundreds of my constituents. There are no other services in the city able to meet the needs of our disabled and vulnerable residents and I fully support the calls for the CCG to reverse this unconscionable decision”

Geraldine continues:

“The Advice Centre is often the last port of call for people who find themselves in desperate situations – to have this life line taken away seems particularly cruel. We will be doing all we can to fund the Centre in the longer term, and our volunteers will help as much as they can by answering phone calls, but in the short term, the outlook for desperate disabled people is very grim”.

Possability People is a registered charity. Donatinons to the charity can be made at

£150,000 Start-Up Series Open for New Equity Investment Round


The Start-Up Series is a seed funding competition, offering equity investment opportunities to UK businesses. The competition aims to identify the country’s brightest entrepreneurs with the smartest ideas to each qualify for one of 24 planned seed investments from a total of £3.6 million in equity funding.

Each month, one business will be chosen to receive up to £150,000 of seed funding. Supported start-ups will be required to give away equity in exchange for investment. In addition, Worth Capital will receive a 7% share option in the funded business.

The additional benefits of applying for this competition are as follows:

  • Support: Each winner will have support from Worth Capital via an experienced director.
  • Media coverage: Winning a high-profile competition and the exposure that generates is beneficial when talking to customers, potential employees and future investors.

The Start-Up Series is open to early-stage consumer businesses in the UK that are creating new products or services, or new ways to buy them.

Business owners must be in a position where they are looking to receive funding from investors in exchange for equity in their business. Because the fund will be for SEIS investments, the business needs to satisfy the following criteria set by HMRC:

  • The business must be UK-based and the applicant must be a UK resident over 18 years old at the time of entry.
  • The business must have been trading for less than 21 months and have less than £200,000 in gross assets (so as to qualify for SEIS-funding).
  • The business must employ fewer than 25 staff.

Entries for the competition will be accepted on a monthly basis.

The deadline for the current application window is Friday 14 September 2018.

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Government Announces £8m Business Basics Fund to Boost England’s Small Firms

The Government has announced details of a new £8 million fund, designed to improve the productivity and performance of small businesses in England.

Boosting national productivity and increasing workers’ earning power forms a key part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. To address the country's productivity challenge, the Industrial Strategy focuses on the five foundations of productivity:

  • Ideas
  • People
  • Infrastructure
  • Business environment

The Business Basics Fund, operated by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in partnership with Innovate UK (IUK), will help businesses, charities, trade bodies and public sector organisations to support small businesses in adopting tried and tested technologies and management techniques. The aim is to unlock £100 billion of untapped benefit to the economy.

Once the projects are launched, the Government will then work with leading experts to evaluate the effectiveness of each project in boosting productivity, helping to inform future policies.

The programme will have a total budget of £8 million over its lifetime. There will be a total of £2 million available in the first call.

Small Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, with more than 1,000 new businesses starting up every day, and it is vital that we support them to grow through our modern Industrial Strategy.

"The Business Basics Fund will test new and innovative ways of supporting small businesses to take advantage of technologies and management practices – giving small business leaders the tools and support they need to continue to thrive."

Details about the funding available, the application process and further guidance can be accessed via IUK's online Innovation Funding Service.

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