Empowering the Voluntary Sector will go on despite expiry of lottery funding

Terry Perkins of Navca says demand for training is likely to increase

Terry Perkins, public law training officer at Navca
Terry Perkins, public law training officer at Navca

A scheme that helps charities use public law and the Compact to challenge decisions by public bodies is continuing after its lottery funding expired.

Empowering the Voluntary Sector received a grant of £705,442 in January 2009 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Basis infrastructure programme, which is now closed. It previously received £474,027 from the BLF to support the first three years of the programme from April 2006.

The project, a joint initiative between the legal charity the Public Law Project, the local infrastructure body Navca and the National Council for Voluntary OrganisationsCompact Advocacy programme, began in April 2006.

Lottery funding ended in November, but Navca is continuing to run one-day workshops with the support of the other two programme partners.

Terry Perkins, public law training officer at Navca, said 2,000 people from 1,500 organisations had attended the workshops since the programme began.

It costs up to £45 per attendee and the content has been updated to include information about the new Best Value Statutory Guidance issued by the Communities and Local Government department.

Perkins said the programme provided a valuable service for charities and he expected demand to increase in the weeks ahead when councils set their voluntary sector budgets for 2012/13.

He said the scheme was just covering its costs at the moment. "In the long term we would like to find outside support to make it more sustainable," he said.

A BLF spokeswoman said it had invited Basis grant-holders to apply for additional funding from its Supporting Change and Impact fund.

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