Where’s “Call Me Dave” Cameron’s Big Society? Not in Croydon, if the Council’s massive cuts in grants to local charity and voluntary groups are anything to go by.
Charity groups have reacted in horror to the news that Croydon is proposing to reduce its grants to local voluntary organisations from £1.8 million to just £625,000 a year over the next four years, a cut of almost 66 per cent.
ThirdSector, a blog for the voluntary sector, reports on the situation in Croydon today:
Steve Phaure, chief executive of Croydon Voluntary Action, which has been allocated £180,000 a year under the proposals, argues that the 66 per cent reduction is a “disproportionate blow for Croydon’s voluntary sector” given the 25 per cent overall cuts local authorities have been tasked with delivering after last month’s emergency Budget.
“The organisations being cut are working with some of the most disadvantaged people in Croydon,” he said.
“CVA is asking Croydon Council to hold off from making these cuts to give us the opportunity to work with our members, because there is scope for closer collaboration and possible mergers that can take place if we are given the time.”
Of course, this is all against a background where the Council’s ruling Conservatives have managed to agree a proposal to increase their leader’s pay and allowances by 22 per cent.
Councillor Vidhi Mohan, Croydon’s Cabinet member for stronger communities, said of the cuts in grants to voluntary organisations, “I think this shows our commitment to supporting the voluntary sector as much as possible.”
Croydon received 167 applications from 126 different organisations for money from its stronger communities fund. Under the proposals, only six will receive grants totalling £625,000 a year between October and September 2014.
The grant cuts will be discussed at next Monday’s Cabinet meeting.