Belfast Telegraph

Lifeline charity collapse 'puts drug and alcohol services at risk'

Workers at a drug and alcohol charity fear they could be out of a job within days because of its collapse into administration.

Unite said its members at Lifeline have been "plunged into uncertainty" as the charity officially goes into administration on Thursday.

The charity, which employs 1,300 workers, provides services for tens of thousands of people a year, including prisoners in 22 jails and young offender institutions.

Work is being transferred to another charity, CGL, but Unite said some workers fear they could be out of a job by next week.

Unite national officer Siobhan Endean said: "The collapse of Lifeline should set alarm bells ringing, which is why we have launched an email campaign, urging members of the public to contact their local prospective parliamentary candidates ahead of next week's General Election.

"They are being asked to protect the future of drugs and alcohol services in their local communities and the jobs of the people who currently work for Lifeline.

"Drug and alcohol services are chronically underfunded as a result of the Government's savage cuts.

"We believe that the payment by results model of commissioning is placing the services at risk.

"Unite members in the sector report that they are under pressure to focus on unattainable measures and targets.

"Organisations can be tempted to bid for contracts where they are at risk of operating at a loss.

"Unite will make every effort to ensure that all Lifeline projects remain open and that they are taken over by providers committed to keeping the same level of service, and that staff and agency workers who work for Lifeline do not face redundancy."