Voluntary groups will feel the pinch

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THE search is on for ways to reduce the amount of money the council hands out to voluntary organisations.

Councillors agreed in March to reduce funding by £50,000 a year out of a budget of about £830,000.

“The voluntary sector does some fantastic work in Calderdale and we want that to continue,” said communities spokeswoman Pauline Nash.

“But we have to make changes to ensure we get best value for money,” she said.

Calderdale Council wants people to comment on a list of priorities which will operate from 2012 to 2015.

The aim is to continue supporting groups and projects which help people access services, including revenues and benefits services, and ensure people can access information and advice.

Grants should go to support the council’s cultural objectives, safeguard people, make the area cleaner and greener, encourage volunteering and bring people together, as well as addressing antisocial behaviour.

Councillor Nash (Lib-Dem, Skircoat) said any changes would be confirmed by the cabinet in August.

When people were asked in January to comment on the council’s spending priorities, grants to voluntary organisations were given a low priority and placed only 32nd out 42 services.

Most of the council’s grant money currently goes to Calderdale Citizens Advice Bureau, with £381,000, Voluntary Action Calderdale (£130,000), Age Concern Calderdale (£20,000) Calderdale DART (£68,000) and Calderdale Women’s Centre (£30,000).

It also helps pay for Calderdale Community Transport (£40,000) Cloverleaf Advocacy (£22,000) and Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale (£22,500).

Grants of up to £3,000 are awarded to groups with less than £10,000 turnover.