Council maintains commitment to funding for voluntary sector

Press Release: 21/01/2014

Grants

Charities and voluntary organisations in the Winchester District are set to receive funding of more than £600,000 from the City Council in 2013-14, showing the Council’s commitment to maintaining funding levels for the sector.

Alongside a core funding programme of more than £560,000, the Council will make nearly £60,000 available through one-off project grants. In addition, councillors are hoping that a new textile-recycling scheme for the District will provide more income for community grants.

Committee papers setting out proposals for grants for voluntary sector organisations were published last week as part of the budget-setting process which will be concluded at a meeting of full Council on 20 February.

The papers show the Council’s commitment to maintaining core-funding levels for organisations ranging from Winchester & District CAB to Meon Valley Carers, and from Theatre Royal Winchester to Streetreach.

Although local councils are facing tough times, councillors at Winchester City Council are hoping to protect voluntary organisations from the kind of savings that they are having to impose on their own services in the year ahead.

Cllr Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of the Council, said:

As a Council, we have always recognised the immense contribution made to the lives of our residents by voluntary organisations. Whether they are providing front-line help and support for families or older people, or encouraging participation in cultural or sporting activities, we all benefit from their activities.

We also know that many of these organisations are finding it difficult to make ends meet, when other sources of core funding have dried up and yet there are increasing numbers of people requiring their services.

The Council’s Funding and Support Officer, Melissa Fletcher, added:

This year we have given out around 90 grants, supporting organisations of all sizes with projects. Even a relatively small amount of money can provide essential new equipment, training for volunteers or a special trip or activity.

Most grant applicants ask for more than we have funds to give. So we are encouraging organisations to explore other ways of generating income, too, particularly through on-line giving. Our packed grants seminar last year showed how keen people are to diversify their funding during these challenging times.

There is ring-fenced funding, too, for small businesses seeking to develop and for entrepreneurs starting up new businesses. The Council is making £30,000 available to support essential costs for apprentices and for those who are returning to work after a period of long-term unemployment.

Members of the Winchester Town Forum are due to vote on proposed allocations on Wednesday this week, followed by a Cabinet decision on 12 February.