No extra programmes for the hub replacement plan

Capacitybuilders' decision not to extend the nine ChangeUp national support programmes that will replace the six hubs has met with mixed reactions.

The infrastructure support group announced on Monday that it had rejected calls to add programmes in the fields of workforce and IT, which both have dedicated hubs under the current system (Third Sector Online, 22 October).

Instead, Capacitybuilders will boost funding by up to £1m to run additional projects related to workforce and IT through its learning and innovation programme.

Organisations including umbrella bodies Navca and the NCVO had asked for specific workforce and IT programmes to be tacked on to the programmes that will replace the six national hubs in April next year.

Kevin Curley, chief executive of Navca, criticised the move. "We are disappointed that Capacitybuilders has not responded to our call to have a workforce development strand, because we know that at local level many groups struggle to find the resources they need to develop their staff," he said.

"In small charities, it is often a very low priority. We had hoped to see additional national support."

However, John Tate, chair of charity IT support group Citra, said the decision would result in more money being received by local groups. "There is a strong feeling among many in the sector that more of the ICT Hub funding should have gone directly to grass-roots-level organisations," he said.

Ben Kernighan, deputy chief executive of the NCVO, said he was happy at the news. "I hope it means that organisations will continue to have access to good-quality information and advice about workforce issues," he said.

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