Thursday, 4 August 2011

Funding the sector

Last Tuesday The Journal reported on TUC research about the impact of public sector funding cuts on voluntary organisations. The article featured a photograph of me looking particularly grumpy!
Jeremy Cripps, Chief Executive of Children North East
Yes Children North East did lose some local authority funding last year but the impact of cuts is not as bad as we feared largely because Newcastle City Council decided to protect many grants to voluntary organisations by creating the Newcastle Fund. We worked hard to secure grants from other sources to maintain some services and have set about offering others for local authorities and schools to purchase from us in different ways.

Fortunately Children North East has projects spread across 5 local authorities offering a wide range of different services funded in several different ways. The voluntary organisations that are most at risk are those smaller than us serving a neighbourhood well but wholly dependent upon a single grant. The 'Big Society' needs neighbourhood organisations like that to succeed.

Government seems to think voluntary organisations are like small businesses, its plans for funding us is to offer loans at market rates of interest rather than grants. But voluntary organisations and charities do not sell their services or generate income so it is hard to see how loans can be repaid even by organisations of the size of Children North East. We think sustainability lies in a diversity of income sources - grants from charitable foundations and philanthropists as well as the public sector, contracts, fund raising events and selling some services and activities - that is our plan this year. 

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