BY JAMES TWOMEY
Volunteer groups and charities are facing a £1.4m cut in funding from a town hall.
A Greenwich council cabinet meeting on January 23 confirmed the changes, stating a near 30 per cent cut in funding would be applied, taking third sector funding from £4.1m to £2.7m as of the last funding cycle.
Louisa Le Marchand, project manager of Global Fusion Music and Arts, said: “We applied for £30,000 for festivals last year and received £17,000, which we were grateful for because we managed to produce some of the festivals that we wanted to do.
But as always funding is a struggle and for us to survive we need funding for paid staff. On March 15 this year we will be celebrating 18 years since we first began in 2001, so let’s hope that we can secure the funding to keep going for another 18 years.”
A council report called Third Sector Commissioning Framework 2019-2023 said: “An estimated £1.4m of public health funding which was available in 2015-19 has been cut following government reductions.”
Deputy council leader David Gardner said: “Firstly this £2.7m by no mean represents the totality of the council’s support to the voluntary sector, there are other areas as well that we do commission the voluntary sector to support the provision of services.
“This is still, despite public health cuts, one of the largest pots in London in terms of our third sector commissioning spend.
“We need to be mindful of that and have to improve the capacity and the ability of our voluntary sector to leverage other funds from other statutory bodies and their own fundraising.
It’s very important to work with the voluntary sector through this process so that overall they can contribute more and more.”
Naomi Goldberg, director of Strategy at Metro Charity, which provides representation for the voluntary sector in Greenwich, said the cuts would be challenging but that they also have other sources of funding.
Naturally, the sector will continue to look for new funding. Metro will also continue to work with the council to ensure that we can deliver the best possible services for the sector in these difficult times,” she said.
Ms Goldberg added: “Nearly every group who applied for funding from the council’s Third Sector Commissioning 2019/2023 fund has been affected in one way or another.
Funded groups still need to work with the council to decide exactly what can be provided with the reduced funding.
“This may mean reductions in staff time and services. “It could also catalyse greater collaboration in providing new services to meet local needs.”
There were also concerns raised at the council meeting over the lengthy and complicated application forms as 99 applications were made by 63 groups asking for a combined £4.7m.
Council leader Danny Thorpe went on to say: “None of us get into politics to take money away from groups who do amazing things, but the £1.4m taken away from that budget could not have been replaced without taking money from other areas.”