Funding Central website lists 4,000 opportunities

But free grants directory duplicates Governmentfunding.org.uk site created by the Directory of Social Change

The NCVO and the Office of the Third Sector have launched a free website containing details of funding opportunities for voluntary organisations.

Funding Central provides information about 4,000 grants, contracts and loans offered by local, regional, national and European funders.

Third sector minister Angela Smith said the site would save charities time and money searching for funding opportunities.

"I hope it will also open up opportunities to more organisations, particularly smaller ones, that might have been deterred from seeking government support in the past because the information wasn't so readily available," she said.

Since 2003, the Government has awarded grants worth £2.2m to the Directory of Social Change for its governmentfunding.org.uk website, which also lists charity funding opportunities. The DSC site received its final grant in April.

Simon Hill, chair of the DSC, said in February that the OTS's decision to fund another site was a "wasteful duplication of effort" to be funded through the public purse.

The NCVO has a three-year contract to run the new site.

Ben Kernighan, deputy chief executive of the NCVO, said the site would be an "invaluable website for organisations looking for up-to-date funding opportunities as well as offering advice and support".

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