Harder without the teams' support

There have been letters and articles in the papers about budget cuts proposed by North Somerset Council but little so far about the planned cuts by the council to

There have been letters and articles in the papers about budget cuts proposed by North Somerset Council but little so far about the planned cuts by the council to grants and support to community groups. Many community groups over the years have relied on the advice and support of the community development team, especially as they have been setting up in the first place, but the council is intending to end this service to the community, making the 3.6 staff redundant. It is not easy getting a community group off the ground but it will be much harder without the team's help. Although VANS (Volunteer Agency North Somerset) will continue with its main services, the council is to cut all their funding for VANS to provide advice on external funding. This will halve the amount of time available from VANS to give valuable advice to local voluntary organisations. This advice must bring in thousands of pounds from trusts and so on, into this area, helping to fund the many voluntary organisations working in the community with older people, young homeless people and so on. The volunteers running these local groups need this advice in order to make successful bids to trusts for funds to run local community groups and charities. And also the council plans to cut £94,000 from the grants budget to voluntary and community groups. All of us working in voluntary organisations know how hard it is to raise funds, by various activities - coffee mornings, sales, fetes - to provide local services on a shoestring budget. The small grants from the council are often what helps keep vital local voluntary groups going. These cuts are miserly and will have a potentially devastating effect on many community groups and local charities where folk already put in many hours of unpaid time to help local people. I hope we can persuade the council to think again.ISABEL CUMMINGS - Yatton resident and committee member of several local charities


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