Funding Increase for Voluntary Sector
Reading Borough Council has confirmed that it will be increasing the total amount of funding it gives to the town’s many voluntary groups in the coming year as a sign of its on-going commitment to the sector, and in recognition of the vital role they play in the Reading community.
At a time when tough economic challenges mean many local authorities nationwide are cutting funding to voluntary organisations, the Council will actually be increasing money going towards the voluntary and community sector from £6,818,281 million in the current year, to £7,039,519 million in financial year 2011/12.
The total amount is made up of direct grants to voluntary groups and revenue contracts with community organisations who carry out valuable work for the Council, which in turn help to deliver key objectives for the town.
Also - for the first time – a funding pot of £100,000 has been set aside by the Council to fund capital projects for the voluntary and community sector in Reading. All groups in Reading will be able to bid for a share of the money to help pay for their key projects.
This new money is in addition to the £220,000 Reading Borough Council has confirmed this year to bring the Central Club back into community use, working in close collaboration with the Reading African and Caribbean Community Group.
An additional £382,000 is also provided in the form of low cost accommodation for local groups.
In the past voluntary sector organisations have traditionally applied for funding for the year ahead in a single annual grant round. Changes to the way organisations in Reading apply have been introduced this year however to provide greater flexibility, more transparency and greater consistency of funding opportunities open to all organisations.
It means frequent funding opportunities throughout the course of the year for a wider range of voluntary and community sector groups in Reading. It also means the Borough Council can choose to direct funding towards ever-changing priority areas and to areas of work which will benefit the town the most and offer the best possible value for money to the council tax payer.
Out of the £7,039,519 million funding pot for 2011/12, £1,440,000 is going towards voluntary and community sector grants, with £5,279,518 million funding revenue contracts with voluntary and community groups who carry our key work in the community.
In addition to the £7 million-plus finding pot and the £100,000 for capital projects, a further £81,000 revenue commitment has been made by the Council to fund voluntary sector programmes which will be widely publicised.