Umbrella bodies are given £2m

Mathew Little and Tania Mason

The Big Lottery Fund has announced grants of more than £2m for voluntary and community sector infrastructure.

The NCVO, Acevo, the NACVS and the Public Law Project will all receive funding from the BLF's strategic programme.

The chief executives' body is to launch a three-year joint programme with NACVS to increase charities' understanding of full cost recovery, using a £596,000 grant.

The grant will be used to train nearly 1,000 workers in local infrastructure organisations. They will in turn disseminate guidance on full cost recovery to more than 6,600 voluntary groups.

Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, said: "This programme will enable those supporting the sector at the local level to drive up the financial skills and capacity of frontline organisations. Government has set a deadline of April 2006 for all of its departments to adopt the principles of full cost recovery. The sector and Government must work together to make sure we meet it."

Acevo has also launched a website - www.fullcost recovery.org.uk - setting out the principles and rationale behind full cost recovery.

NACVS has been given £386,000 to increase the skills of local infrastructure organisations, such as councils for voluntary service, to engage in local area agreements and local public service agreements.

The NCVO has been awarded £634,000 to launch its centre for campaigning (Third Sector, 30 November). The grant will pay for four staff for three years, and allow the delivery of training seminars and conferences. Chris Stalker, campaigns and communications director for NCVO, said there may also be a small grants programme to fund activities such as the evaluation of campaigns, although this was not built into the original business plan.

Stalker added that he envisaged at least three strong links between the new campaigning resource and the ChangeUp hubs. He said there were clear links between the workforce development hub and the need to bolster campaigning skills, the performance improvement hub and the evaluation of campaign effectiveness, and the ICT hub and new uses of technology for campaigning.

The Public Law Project in North London receives £474,000 to advise voluntary organisations in public law principles and remedies. The Big Lottery Fund says the aim "is to enable the sector to be more effective in maintaining stable services to disadvantaged groups".

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