Voluntary councils ask for emergency funding

The chief executives of the National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service (NACVS) and Volunteer Development England have written to the Active Community Unit to request a repeat of last year's £500,000 emergency funding which saved many local infrastructure bodies.

Many councils of volunteer service and volunteer bureaux are in financial crisis following cuts in funding from local councils and both the NACVS and Volunteer Development England want the Government to bail them out for the second year running.

In 2002, Home Secretary David Blunkett intervened to ensure that 30 local bodies did not close.

"Nine councils of voluntary service will suffer severe cuts by local government that will threaten either their existence or their provision of core services," said Kevin Curley, chief executive of NACVS.

"And quite a lot of councils of voluntary service even now don't know what their next grant will be from the local authority on 1 April," he said.

The biggest cut has affected north London-based Islington Voluntary Action Council which will have its annual funding slashed from £120,000 to £30,000.

It expects the planned council cuts to take effect in June. "These cuts won't kill us - we will keep going, but there will be a very detrimental effect on services for groups in Islington," said a spokesman.

The council is asking supporters to write to councillors in protest.

"It is astonishing when the Government is emphasising the importance of infrastructure support," said Curley.

According to NACVS research, many council of voluntary services provide support to local groups on less than £50,000 a year, but they need at least £100,000 to deliver an effective service.

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