Voluntary sector funding is safe until March 2018

Funding has been secured for three High Peak volunteer charities.
Funding has been secured for three High Peak volunteer charities.

Three High Peak volunteer groups can breathe a sigh of relief as funding is secured until March 2018.

At a Derbyshire County Council cabinet meeting today (Tuesday, September 20) members voted to continue to fund the charities which help older members of the community.

Central government austerity cuts were the reason behind the grant fund changes however vital services which provide a ‘lifeline’ to others are safe.

The services in the High Peak where funding has been secured are: Voluntary and Community Services Peaks and Dales; New Mills Volunteer Centre and High Peak CVS.

Adele Gould, office manager at New Mills and District Volunteer Centre said: “This is fantastic news and means we can continue to offer a lifeline to people.

“It is not just people in New Mills we help but all he way to Chapel-en-le-Frith and I am so pleased we do not have to cut any of our services.
“We thought we would lose a lot of funding as that was the impression the county council gave when they visited us, but I am so glad this is not the case.”

The Cabinet agreed in March 2016 to hold a 12-week consultation in to proposals to stop funding to VCS where there was no clear link between service activity and meeting Adult Care statutory requirements.

Deputy Council Leader Councillor Paul Smith is the cabinet member for the adult social care said: “We have been funding some voluntary groups for 15 years without review but as government cuts are being felt more and more we needed to look at our outgoings.

“For everyone we have agreed to fund this will continue until March 31, 2018.

“I would like to thank the volunteers for all they do for the community, it does not go unnoticed.”

The public consultation exercise in to the potential impact of the proposed cuts to 45 VCS organisations generated 1829 completed questionnaires, 50 described as ‘easy read’, 1423 paper submissions and 356 online.

Joy Hollister strategic director for adult care said: “We have had a huge response so thank you to the engagement team for going out into communities and getting people’s views.

“This has been a huge piece of work and we hope it is well received and it really does show what preventative services can do and how important they are.”
The consultation highlighted very innovative and effective services across the county that are well regarded in their local communities and seen as being indispensable by recipients, so said the cabinet grant funding report.

Anne Western leader of the cabinet said: “Now we need to work with community groups and volunteer groups towards self-sufficiency and work collectively so resources are spent in the best possible way they can be.”

Joy Hollister did issue a warning and say while Derbyshire County Council has agreed funding, grants provided from Clinical Commissioning Groups could not be controlled by the cabinet.

Those decisions have not been made yet and she warned charities need to be prepared for cuts from them.