Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Union steps in as Centrepoint is hit by spending cuts

Staff facing pay cuts at prince's youth charity

Front line staff at one of the Duke of Cambridge’s favourite charities are facing redundancies and pay cuts, as it struggles with the fallout from Whitehall spending curbs.

Centrepoint, England’s biggest youth homelessness charity, began consulting staff about changes to pay and conditions last week. The process could also result in some of its front line staff being made redundant.

The move is a major blow for the high-profile charity which has been consistently championed by the Duke. It was the first charity he became patron of - in 2005 - and he has slept rough with Centrepoint volunteers to raise the profile of homelessness.

The charity held talks with union Unite on Wednesday. Matt Smith, Unite’s regional industrial officer, confirmed that up to 60 members of the charity’s front line staff had attended a meeting last week with the union about the charity’s proposals to cut pay, alter terms and conditions of employment and make possible redundancies.

He emphasised that the consultation was at an early stage and the union and its members were not in a dispute with the charity.

‘The view of our members is to make sure if there are any cuts that they are deemed necessary, that it is done fairly and the pain is redistributed through the whole organisation,’ he added.

There is some disquiet among Centrepoint front line staff who allege management will not face similar alterations to their pay and conditions - but Mr Smith said they may already have been affected by previous cuts and the union did not want anyone to be hit twice.

News of the consultation came as Green Party mayoral candidate Jenny Jones called on London mayor Boris Johnson to secure emergency funding to safeguard homelessness charities hit by cuts. She invited him to visit a Barnardo’s project providing support to families that will close in August after a £145,000 funding cut from umbrella body London Councils in 2011/12. She said London Councils’ cuts to homelessness services total £506,000 in 2011/12 and £134,000 in 2012/13.

A spokesperson for Centrepoint confirmed it was consulting with staff about ‘changes to its organisational structure’. She said the changes were ‘necessary to continue its commitment’ to delivering high-quality support to vulnerable young people. She said it would ‘not be appropriate’ to provide further information.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Chris

    The Big Society in truth - don't you just love those caring cuddly Tories, how they smile as they kick away your crutch.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Why should people working in charitable organisations be paid at all - the big society depends on free labour and if society does not want to contribute with free labour - may be such activity should stop.

    The question in all these matters is the difference it will make if the organisation folds up. Value is what people give it - not what the bloated stste system gives via subsidies.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Chris

    Do you work for free Venk?

    If you do, how do you fund little costs like housing and food?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

More Newsletters



  • Inside Housing: 30 years of news


    As Inside Housing turns 30, Keith Cooper delves into the magazine’s archives to trace stories through the decades and discover what, if anything, has changed

  • Legal battle launched over leadership of Odu-Dua


    A legal tussle has begun over who is in charge of a small black and minority ethnic housing association.

  • GLA plan to curb food handouts

    30 January 2014

    Pret a Manger vows to continue to give unsold food to rough sleepers

  • Housing multiplication


    Social landlords in the south east face a difficult decision: sell sought-after properties to boost their balance sheets, or keep affordable homes in high-value areas? reports Caroline Thorpe

  • Housing’s finest


    The UK Housing Awards have celebrated excellence in the social housing sector for 17 years and the winners of the 2014 awards are no exception. Helen Clifton reveals the organisations, projects and individuals achieving great things for their communities


  • Room for dignity


    A new toolkit aims to help smaller housing associations address the needs of residents suffering from dementia. Caroline Thorpe reports

  • Acting out to tackle domestic abuse


    An interactive training course is helping housing professionals in the south west identify and tackle domestic abuse. Lydia Stockdale finds out how

  • Getting connected


    Student@Home has discovered the mutual benefits of one-to-one IT training for social tenants. Kate Youde investigates

  • Sowing the seeds


    Sanctuary Housing is collaborating with charity Fixers to inspire young people to tackle issues they feel strongly about in their community. Austin Macauley reports

  • A light in the dark


    The Lighthouse Project in Wales provides support to those most in need. Reni Eddo-Lodge finds out more

IH Subscription



You will soon need to sign into www.insidehousing.co.uk using your email address rather than your username.

If you are unsure which email address is linked to your account, please Click Here. Your password will remain the same.

If you have a print subscription we need to ensure that we have the correct details in order to link your subscription to your online account, for more information Click Here.

Click here to close window