Thurrock Council in Essex protects £625k grants to voluntary organisations

Local authority confirms support for local groups despite £4m cut in current year's budget

Thurrock Council is to protect more than £600,000 of grants for local voluntary organisations, despite a £4m reduction in its budget for the current financial year.

The decision means the Essex council’s £624,833 Voluntary Sector Grant programme will support 11 organisations with more than £10,000 and six more with grants of less than £2,000 during 2010/11, as planned.

However, the council also commissions services from voluntary groups and some of these might be affected by the cuts.

Sheila Coates, director of the South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre, one of the voluntary organisations that receives funding from the council, said she was pleased that the grants had been safeguarded.

But she said she remained concerned about what would happen to the funding in 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Council leader John Kent said: "Thurrock Council enjoys a healthy relationship with local groups, and recognises their unique ability to deliver tailored services for the local community.

"The decision not to make any cuts at this time demonstrates that we are serious about investing in the local voluntary sector."

Thurrock’s decision follows recent cuts to voluntary organisation funding by other councils, including the London boroughs of Lambeth and Croydon.

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