Call for applications to City Council’s core funding programme
Press Release: 31/10/2014
Winchester City Council’s core funding programme is open for applications. The programme provides money for the essential overheads of voluntary and community organisations.
In the past year nearly £480,000 was awarded in core grants. Current recipients include Winchester District Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Trinity Winchester, Blue Apple, Theatre Royal Winchester, Homestart Winchester & District and the Meon Valley Carers.
The core funding provides an element of stability for such organisations, and instils confidence for other funders to provide funding for special projects and pilot schemes.
A small number of core-funded clients will be named official ‘Partner Organisations’, and will receive a three-year funding commitment rather than the traditional one-year agreement to provide further financial stability and confidence.
All businesses have to make tough budgeting decisions, but charities face a year-round challenge of covering even their basic operating costs.
In the current difficult economic environment society is increasingly reliant on voluntary and community organisations to deliver critical support and comfort to the most vulnerable members of our communities. Winchester City Council places a huge value on the work of the charities in the Winchester District, and has zealously protected its grants programmes in spite of the financial pressures in recent years.
2014 sees the introduction by the Council of a new evaluation system, increasing the transparency of decisions and enabling officers to give detailed feedback at the end of the process – particularly around areas of best practice.
Whilst the total funds available have not increased the Council is keen to encourage more groups to apply if they meet the funding criteria. The Council hopes to receive a number of qualifying applications from sports clubs, theatres, festivals and special interest groups to help them provide essential services unavailable from other sources.
Cllr Mike Southgate, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Communities, said:
As a Council, we pride ourselves on supporting voluntary organisations and we would like to thank and acknowledge the efforts of the many volunteers who work so hard to make life brighter, safer and happier for our residents. We want to continue to protect our grants budgets, but we do need to ensure that the charities are doing all they can to become financially stable over the longer term. We will also be looking for evidence of good partnership working and cost-sharing with other voluntary organisations, support for a wide range of beneficiaries across the District and a genuine commitment to working with us in delivering our Community Strategy priorities.
Funding and Development Officer Melissa Fletcher added:
We gave out a number of bursaries for an on-line fundraising scheme called ‘Local Giving’ last year, and have seen some organisations make a return six times the size of our original investment. So we know there is more we can do to help charities diversify their fundraising strategies, especially using low-cost technologies of this kind.
Applications should be submitted on-line at www.winchester.gov.uk/community/grants/core-funding/ by 17 November, where the full criteria for the scheme can also be found. Queries to Melissa Fletcher on 01962 848 492, Tues, Wed and Thurs.