Council restores £150,000 of funding cuts

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SHEFFIELD Council is to halve the amount of cuts it was planning to make to the funding of voluntary, community and religious groups over the coming year.

The authority was planning to reduce the amount of money it offers in grants from £2.9 million at present to £2.61 million during 2012/13 – a drop of 10 per cent.

But ruling Labour councillors have now changed their plans and propose to make a five per cent cut, meaning the pot will be £2.76 million – £150,000 more than expected.

Coun Mick Rooney, Sheffield Council cabinet member for communities, said: “The voluntary, community and faith sector do so much good work in the city and are close to so many people on a daily basis. That work cannot be overlooked.

“They help support some of the most vulnerable people in our society and provide respected and valued services by local people to local people.”

Some 84 groups are currently bidding for a share of the grant aid funding next year.

Among the groups which receive grant aid funding from Sheffield Council are the Northern Refugee Centre, Victim Support, Sharrow Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Scoop Aid which helps lone parent families.

Sue James, director of operations at Voluntary Action Sheffield – an umbrella group for voluntary organisations around the city – said: “It is still a cut but we recognise the council is in a difficult position.

“The tough conditions have meant some groups such as Hillsborough Forum have already gone to the wall, and others are making redundancies, but we are pleased the council has worked hard to minimise the level of cuts.”