Anger over short application time for grants allocated by Social Investment Business

Charities given less than a month to apply for Department of Health funds

A local infrastructure organisation has criticised a Social Investment Business programme that gave charities less than a month to apply for £22m of Department of Health grants.

Ellen Cross, a funding advice network coordinator for the North Yorkshire Forum for Voluntary Organisations, said her organisation received a large number of complaints from members after it advertised a £16m SIB scheme that was open to applications from 27 January to 21 February, and a £6m scheme open from 18 December to 15 January.

"This is no use to organisations," she said. "By the time they've talked to trustees and decided whether it's relevant to them, it's too late. People were particularly angry about the programme that ran over Christmas."

Sue Peters, managing director of investments at the Social Investment Business, the government-backed grant and loan provider, said the money from the Department of Health became available only late last year and had to be distributed by the end of the 2009/10 financial year in April.

Despite the short timescale, she said, 750 organisations had applied, asking for a total of more than £200m. The same DoH grants would be available in 2010/11 and the period for applications would be longer, she said.

A spokeswoman for the Commission for the Compact said the Compact required public bodies to give charities enough time to apply for grant schemes, but did not stipulate a period.

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