Cuts will put Edinburgh charities at risk, warns SCVO

Cost-cutting proposals at Edinburgh Council could put 31 charities and voluntary organisations in the city at risk, according to the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

A report leaked to the Scottish press says council members have recommended cutting £874,297 in voluntary sector grants as part of an attempt to save a total of £11m.

Among the charities at risk is Gorgie City Farm, which would lose 75 per cent of its annual £95,600 grant under the proposals. Elaine Brand, project manager, said the charity would face certain closure as a result.

“I had not heard anything from the department saying our funding was likely to be cut,” she said. “To be treated like this is a real kick in the teeth.”

The report also reveals a 42 per cent cut in the £121,291 available to the city’s playgroups for items such as equipment and transport. Council members insist that nothing will be finalised until the budget is determined on 21 February.

Shulah Allan, chief executive of Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council, said that it was surprised to hear about the planned cuts because Edinburgh Council was reviewing its funding for the sector.

"We are surprised to see cuts prior to a major review," she said. "If the council does withdraw funding, we would hope for three months’ notice. But if the cuts ate be be part of the budget they would kick in at start of financial year in April and we don't expect the council to finalise its budget until mid-March. That would give charities no time to set a budget."

The SCVO has said it will campaign against the proposals.

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