Red tape forces Essex centre to retract funding bid

Georgina Lock

The tangle of bureaucracy at Essex County Council has proved so much for a local charity that it has withdrawn its funding application.

It is the second time that Shirley Cuthew, volunteer company secretary at the Colchester Carers Centre for Children, has cancelled her application for grants from the Children's Fund, which is managed by the council.

"It is just not cost-effective," she said.

On the first occasion, in 2003, the carers centre secured £9,499 for one year. But Cuthew withdrew the application because the red tape was so severe.

This year, she hoped that things had improved and applied for £6,765, only to suffer the same problem.

The application process included a 19-page form with ten pages of notes and additional information that Cuthew described as full of jargon. If successful, the charity would have had to fill in forms a further four times a year to satisfy the council's quarterly monitoring.

She said this was too much for small organisations, adding that it amounted to "a bashing of the voluntary sector".

The council's Children's Fund did not return calls.

- See Editorial, page 22.

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