Good News for Community Groups

Written by on 24 July 2020

Extra funding could be given to local voluntary and community sector groups by Derbyshire County Council following the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed £53,000 increase would bring the total for infrastructure groups – umbrella organisations which offer information, support, guidance, training and funding to the local charitable sector – to more than £450,000

The move follows a 12-week consultation by the county council into new funding principles for distributing grants to Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) infrastructure organisations.

Proposals outlined in the consultation suggested grants could be given out:

  • Equitably across Derbyshire
  • Based on what each group achieved
  • Over a longer period to encourage sustainability.

But due to the impact of COVID 19, the county council says now is not the time to redistribute funding which could have seen some areas gain while others lose out.

Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for health and communities Councillor Carol Hart praised the local voluntary and community sector for their work throughout the pandemic, which helped the council care for Derbyshire’s most vulnerable residents.

“Their support and help has been outstanding,” said Councillor Hart. “We’ve always acknowledged how important their work is, but never has it been as vital as during these difficult times. I’d like to thank them and all the volunteers who have helped us support local people during the pandemic for all their hard work.”

More than 800 people responded to the council’s consultation, broadly agreeing with the principles of creating a fairer approach to funding, encouraging organisations to work together while creating stability through longer-term funding.

By adding an extra £53,000 to the funding pot the council is ensuring that areas that would have gained from a fairer distribution of funding would not miss out.

Principles outlined in the consultation are set to be taken forward by the county council which is proposing to extend funding for another 12 months to give the authority and the VCS groups time to embed the work.

Councillor Hart added: “More than ever, Covid-19 has highlighted the need to ensure that in future there is a core, consistent offer of support to the community and voluntary sector across all parts of the county.

“But now is not the time to introduce proposals which could have reduced funding to some infrastructure providers

“We will continue to work with them in the coming months to ensure the new principles are being applied. This will include taking stock of the last four months and understanding and applying the learning from Covid-19,” she added.

The new funding proposals are due to be discussed by the county council’s Cabinet on Thursday, July 30.

Cabinet is also being asked to ensure the council continues to support the third sector during the difficult months ahead by extending grants to voluntary and community groups totalling almost £1million. These groups deliver a wide range of services including dementia support and advocacy, furniture projects and support for BME communities.

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