Liverpool City Council cuts grant programme from three years to 12 months

£4m-a-year Community Grants scheme will be replaced by one-year £3.7m fund

Liverpool City Council’s main voluntary sector funding programme will reduce the duration of all of its grants from three years to one year from next April.

The Community Grants programme is currently worth £4m a year. The funding is due to expire in April 2011 and will be replaced by a one-year fund worth £3.7m.

Seventy-nine charities, including Age Concern Liverpool, Garston Citizens Advice Bureau and the Welfare Rights Service, receive funding from the programme. A council spokesman said it was the council’s biggest funding programme for the voluntary sector.

The fund is open to charities providing community legal advice, support for domestic violence victims and non-housing support for single homeless people, as well as groups working to strengthen communities and voluntary organisations.

"We can’t commit to three-year funding because, until the comprehensive spending review this autumn, we won’t know what our financial position will be," the spokesman said. "We are trying to protect front-line services, but there is a clear message from Whitehall that budgets will be under pressure."

Rosina Ndukwe, programme manager at the Liverpool Transnational Unit, an education and community cohesion initiative that had been set to receive three years of funding from the programme, said: "It will be stressful and expensive to keep reapplying for funding every year, but we’ll do what we can."

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