Funding shake-up ‘to sideline groups’

Funding shake-up ‘to sideline groups’ Voluntary sector
representatives have warned they will be shut out of local
decision-making by the transfer to councils of government funding
to develop the sector.

Delegates at a regeneration conference this week said councils
might not continue the work of the single community

Cash from the programme now goes directly to voluntary community
empowerment networks to build capacity in the sector and improve
its participation in local strategic partnerships (LSPs). But from
next year it will be included in a wider Safer and Stronger
Communities Fund, paid to councils as part of a performance
agreement between authorities, their LSPs and government.

From 2007 every locality will have a broader local area agreement,
incorporating the fund.

Sarah Ruiz, of Newham Voluntary Sector Consortium, said: “The brave
decision of giving communities their own money is being taken

Georgie Constable, director of Plymouth Community Partnership,
said, in pilots, community safety elements had been prioritised
over capacity building.

Urban Forum chief executive Toby Blume said the new fund would work
well in areas where the sector was engaged in LSPs. But he added:
“In areas where people are less signed up to community involvement
things may be lost.”

Director of operations at the government’s Neighbourhood Renewal
Unit Alan Riddell said: “It’s going to be difficult to make your
mark and influence things.”

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