Thursday, 7 April 2011

The start of a new era

On 1st April we finally learned the last local authority decisions about grant allocations to our projects. I feel very sorry for those of our staff whose jobs are dependent on those grant allocations. They have been on notice of risk of redundancy since the beginning of January that their jobs would end on 31st March unless further funding was forthcoming. Imagine the worry and stress of living with that uncertainty right up to the wire and even a day beyond. Unfortunately our staff are used to this, many having been through it before, some several times, they see it as a fact of life in the voluntary sector and they have confidence in their senior managers that we will do our best to preserve the work that we do for children and families and the jobs that supports.

Overall the whole organisation has done well, we will be able to set a balanced budget that will represent a total income in 2011-2012 only 6% less than the year just ended. This is a huge improvement on the predictions we made last July and is testament to the very hard work of the whole management team talking to local authorities and the NHS about their grants to us and our contracts with them; developing and obtaining grants from charitable trusts for new projects; and entirely new ways to generate income too. We can be justifiably pleased with ourselves.

However we cannot afford to rest on our laurels for too long. Virtually every source of income we have is only guaranteed for 12 months and 10% of our total income is from the Transition Fund which is definately for one year only and its purpose is to enable us to make the changes necessary to adapt to the new funding environment. This is a new era in which organisations like Children North East will generate income from sale of services like a business but for public benefit instead of profit. I am optimistic the Transition Fund gives us the means to adapt.

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