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THE COUNCIL has stepped in to save a youth substance misuse service after a drug and alcohol charity it awarded a £1m contract to run it collapsed.

Lifeline Project Limited has gone into administration and has now been dismantled with the bulk of its contracts taken on by another charity, Change Grow Live.

Barnsley Council’s ruling cabinet had only approved its three-year £1,020,000 contract to Lifeline last September with the service starting weeks later.

The council has now stepped in after it was given formal notice that due to financial problems Lifeline could no longer provide the service, which aims to prevent children and young people from becoming problem drug and alcohol users in their adult lives.

About 200 young people a year are referred to this service, with about 70 receiving treatment. The main substances involved are cannabis and alcohol but trends show an increasing popularity with mephedrone and synthetic cannabinoids, formerly known as legal highs.

A council report published last week said Lifeline would stop delivering the substance misuse service – which is jointly funded by Barnsley Council and Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group – as it had encountered significant financial difficulties. An urgent review was held to find the best way forward and the Chronicle was told by the council the local authority taking over ‘provided a smooth transition for the existing service, staff and those young people who use it’.

A council spokesman said: “The council was happy with the staff and service received from Lifeline. It was the (parent) organisation that wished to withdraw from the arrangement.

“No disruption to service users has been reported. Existing staff, computer systems and the service phone line have been maintained. The service is embedding well and being reviewed to ensure the current arrangements are effective and the transition has been managed well.

“Barnsley Council is satisfied the service can be delivered in-house and is working closely with Barnsley’s adult substance misuse provider and Public Health. Service performance will be monitored as part of existing performance management arrangements.”

Source: http://www.barnsleychronicle.com/article/council-steps-in-to-save-substance-misuse-service