Community empowerment networks 'face funding cuts'

Forty per cent of community empowerment networks will lose either all or some of their local authority funding over the next year, a survey has found.

A poll of 79 of the networks, which were set up to support community engagement in drawing up local area agreements, found that 18 per cent were losing all of their funding and 22 per cent were facing a cut.

A further six CENs, or 8 per cent of the sample, had collapsed because they received no funding at all, according to the poll, which was carried out by regeneration groups membership charity Urban Forum.

The reduction means that more than a quarter of the groups will be carrying out less representation work, a report based on the survey said.

Toby Blume, chief executive at Urban Forum, said the outlook for the networks was bleak. “If the empowerment agenda is so important to government, then surely the risks to community representation are too great to ignore,” he said. “The reduced capacity of CENs to do this essential work will make local strategic partnerships weaker and less efficient.”

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