I’d like to use my voice this week to appeal to councillors who will make a budget decision next month.
They may not see it as a vital expense for the council in these times of austerity when politicians are carrying out more cuts than the local barber, but I disagree. The funding in question is for Open Secret, an organisation which helps people deal with abuse from their childhood, including sexual abuse.
Members of Falkirk Council’s Executive will decide whether to chop the group’s grant by £60,000 over the next two years because they say it is a “national charity” and shouldn’t get as much from this local authority. The charity says the council’s figures are wrong.
While this is being scrutinised, I would urge the councillors on this committee to take their eyes away from spreadsheets and get themselves down to one of the support groups to see exactly how this cash helps victims of sexual abuse.
I previously did a feature on the group and met with around a dozen victims – mostly local people incidentally. The meeting was one of the most harrowing, disturbing and heartbreaking interviews I have ever faced, but it was also one of the most uplifting to see how the group help their clients face each day – which is a massive struggle for them.
Some of the victims are broken, unable to come to terms with the unspeakable crimes committed against them while others are able to function better. One thing is certain though – they need the support Open Secret gives them.
All I am asking the councillors whose decisions will affect the future of this vital group is to think of the human cost, not just the monetary one.