Welsh sector gets five-year funding

County voluntary councils and volunteer bureaux in Wales have been guaranteed five-year core funding from the Welsh Assembly government in a historic new deal.

The Wales Council for Voluntary Action last week signed an agreement with ministers that guarantees long-term funding to more than 50 voluntary sector infrastructure bodies.

The new regime, which takes effect this month, contrasts starkly with England, where CVS and volunteer bureaux often rely on one-year contracts with local authorities. However, the Home Office is also considering five-year grants for national infrastructure bodies in England.

Graham Benfield, chief executive at the WCVA, said: "This respects our ability to work together to ensure the support needs of the sector are effectively met, and introduces core funding arrangements for volunteer bureaux for the first time."

Edwina Hart, Welsh minister for social justice and regeneration, said: "This makes the Welsh Assembly government a leader in providing long-term security for the voluntary sector."

The agreement also commits the WCVA, councils for voluntary service and volunteer bureaux to work closely for economies of scale.

Nick Aldridge, director of strategy at Acevo, said the Welsh settlement should be a precedent for England.

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