Third Sector Leadership Centre to close next month

Government agency Capacitybuilders pulls funding but will not say why

Capacitybuilders has refused to give details of its decision to end its funding for the Third Sector Leadership Centre at the end of March.

The centre, a joint venture between the NCVO, the UK Workforce Hub and chief executives body Acevo, was set up to develop leadership in the sector. It has been funded by Capacitybuilders, the government agency set up to improve the sector's infrastructure, since its foundation in 2006.

After a review last year, Capacitybuilders said it would continue to fund the centre beyond 2009 only if it was able to devise a sustainable business plan, including developing independent income streams and a suitable organisational form (Third Sector, 13 January).

The NCVO submitted a business plan to Capacitybuilders at the end of January. A Capacitybuilders statement released yesterday confirmed the funding would end in March.

"Capacitybuilders' board has decided not to proceed with further funding of the Third Sector Leadership Centre beyond March 2009," it said.

However, a spokeswoman for Capacitybuilders refused to confirm that the decision to end funding had been taken because the business plan had been judged inadequate.

She said: "It was made in the context of many competing demands on available funding." Capacitybuilders would not be making any further public statement about its reasons, she added.

An NCVO spokesman confirmed that the centre would close at the end of March, with the loss of three jobs. He said the NCVO was looking at "how to take forward some of its services in other ways".

Ben Kernighan, deputy chief executive of the NCVO, said in a statement that he was very disappointed by Capacitybuilders' decision.

"We will work with Capacitybuilders to ensure that its future investment in leadership support continues to meet the needs of the sector," he said.

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