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Published on 5 November 2021
Funding revamp to support more voluntary sector groups
Many more organisations across the district could benefit from proposed changes to the way Teignbridge allocates funding to the voluntary sector with a new focus on supporting more groups which make a real difference in our communities.
A councillor working group is recommending that the funding system should be more equitable and transparent, potentially support a wider range of voluntary organisations and be better aligned to council priorities.
A new voluntary sector small grants fund is recommended aimed at helping community groups and voluntary organisations in the district that are working to reduce poverty, promote health and wellbeing and improve access for isolated groups.
If the proposals are approved, changes to be phased in over the next couple of years will see the council end its financial support for crowdfunding schemes and switch its £26,000 rural aid fund into the new small grants scheme. Other changes will see additional guidelines on councillors’ community funding to ensure funding is provided as a one-off support package and that money doesn’t just go to the same groups year after year. The council is also considering a district wide lottery next year to further boost the small grants budget with the option of providing a regular income stream to some voluntary sector organisations.
The recommended approach, which will be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 15 November, maintains the current budget and is aimed at breaking the historic approach of annually giving money to the same handful of voluntary organisations and doing more to ensure that there is demonstrable benefit for the community. Final decisions will be made by the Executive in the New Year.
As a result of the proposed changes, Teignbridge Citizens Advice and Teignbridge Council for Voluntary Services which make major contributions to supporting people across the district will benefit from a three year agreement where they will each receive £48,000 per year – slightly lower than the current year - but with the ability to apply to the small grants fund for additional support on specific projects.
Subject to consultation with them, three groups – East Teignbridge Community Transport Association, Newton Abbot Community Transport and Carn 2Cove – will be given six months’ notice of the end of their funding, meaning that they will only receive four months’ support next year, but have the option to apply afresh the following year.
Councillor Gordon Hook who chaired the cross party working group said it was the right time to look again at the groups which had historically received council funding and to create ways where the council could use its £190,000 plus budget more effectively to support organisations which had missed out in the past.
“The fantastic work of many voluntary sector groups in supporting local communities during the pandemic shows the vital role that they play in our district and it is important that in allocating funding we make sure all have an opportunity to bid for it.
“For too long we have simply allocated funding to the same groups year after year without reviewing whether it was the best way of spending council taxpayers’ money or looking to see if there were other groups that were equally deserving of receiving support.
“By being clearer on our priorities, evaluating the spend by focusing on outcomes and spreading the money we have across a wider cross section of groups, we believe we can help them to do even more to support some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”
“Setting out annually on our website how the money is allocated will enable all groups to see that the funds have been distributed fairly and is in line with our commitment to be open and transparent”.