A 'lifeline' social care service that helps vulnerable women is at risk of closure after nearly £850,000 in vital funding was axed from the programme.

Turning Point 218 Service is facing compulsory job losses and closure after the cut.

The ground-breaking programme is provided by Turning Point Scotland and Glasgow Addiction Service, helping to address issues that female offenders face including substance use, physical and mental health, housing, and childcare initiatives.

The service once operated with a combined budget of £1.5 million - £300,000 from Glasgow City Council and £1.2 million from the Scottish Government.

In March 2023, the council withdrew approximately £292,000 of funding and it has now been confirmed that funding to the service has been slashed by a further £550,000, reports Unite the union.

Unite, which represents the majority of the 30 workers based in Glasgow city centre, is demanding an urgent review of the budget cut to save the service.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “The decision to withdraw up to £850,000 for the 218 Service is scandalous.

"It comes at a juncture when figures were released over alcohol related deaths indicating an increase in Glasgow.”

“If there was ever a time to invest money into a service like this to help some of the city’s most vulnerable people it is now.

"Unite will back our members who are providing transformative and life-changing work all the way.”

We reported on August 29 that figures published by National Records of Scotland revealed that female deaths from alcohol rose by 31 to 440 while male alcohol deaths remained unchanged at 836.

The rise in alcohol deaths in Glasgow was bigger compared to Scotland generally, rising to the highest level in 12 years.

Linda Wilson, Unite regional officer, said: “The 218 Service does ground-breaking and essential work with women who have a range of complex needs such as addiction, trauma issues, poor mental or physical health.

“The swinging cuts to bed capacity and funding now means that the 218 Service is now itself on life-support instead of it being the invaluable life-support it has been for its users.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership said: “Following a joint service review with Turning Point it was agreed the number of beds could be reduced in line with demand.

“This review was carried out earlier in the year and we have worked with Turning Point since then to reduce the number of beds from 12 to eight.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The overall funding available for community justice services has not been reduced, nor have local authorities been asked to reduce any specific funding within that.

“Decisions about the provision and commissioning of individual community justice services, including any re-tendering exercises, are a matter for local authorities based on local needs.”

The government added that £113 million would be made available to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) for local services to respond to their own needs. The local ADPs are responsible for distributing the funding.