Thursday, 3 March 2011

The long wait is nearly over

Local Authorities have taken different approaches to how they manage grant funding to voluntary organisations in the context of reductions in their own funding. Newcastle City Council decided to create the 'Newcastle Fund' - a single fund for all voluntary sector grants. They did this by amalgamating all the existing grants in every part of the Local Authority and inviting voluntary organisations to apply for assistance. If successful the benefit for the voluntary sector would be guaranteed grants for 3 years (instead of the former piecemeal arrangements); and the benefit to the Local Authority would be far better knowledge of what it spends on services provided by voluntary organisations and understanding where are what they are doing.

The scheme was very oversubscribed caused in part by Council Departments encouraging voluntary organisations to apply to the Newcastle Fund instead of looking to contractural arrangements for funding direct from Departmental budgets. However true to their word the City Council has started to announce allocations this week. I am delighted that WEYES has been granted a significant sum each year for the next 3 years to replace the grants we used to receive annually.

We also applied for grants forsome other work in the city - with families living in temporary accommodation; children not attending school; and supporting families in the community. We very much hope to hear good news about those applications very soon.

Disappointingly we heard this week from the Big Lottery 'Youth in Focus' fund that two applications we were involved in had not been successful. Both were partnerships of voluntary organisations, one for work with young carers in Northumberland and the other with care leavers in Newcastle. However the experience of developing and making those applications collectively was beneficial to the extent that everyone involved in them wants to apply to other funders for grants or other forms of funding to make the work happen.

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