Regional networks handed £1.5m funding reprieve

Regional voluntary sector networks have received a reprieve after the Government pledged £1.5m to fund them for another two years beyond next March.

Each of the nine English regions has both a generalist network and a black and minority ethnic network to represent the sector in the formation of regional policy. But representatives of the networks wrote to charities minister Kevin Brennan last month amid fears they would have to close if government funding was not renewed (Third Sector, 20 November).

The Office of the Third Sector has pledged £1m over two years. The funds will be channelled through Capacitybuilders, which will also provide £500,000 for 2009/10.

Brennan said the new funding was a recognition of the sector's important role in delivering and influencing government policy.

"It is vital during a time of economic uncertainty that we continue to support and develop third sector organisations," he said.

Ann Blackmore, head of policy at the NCVO, said: "This funding will enable the voluntary and community sector to contribute in many ways, but most crucially with regional plans to tackle the looming recession."

Vandna Gohil, director of Voice4Change England, also welcomed the new funding, but called for an assurance that the BME regional network would get an "equitable share".

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