Voluntary sector receives council funding

THE DEMAND for the council’s Community Partnerships Fund (CPF) was much greater than anticipated, with the total amount applied for five times greater than the available funding.

Just over £371,000 has been allocated to community and voluntary groups in 2012/13, with nine organisations selected from 53 groups which expressed an interest in applying for funding.

The total value of the bids from the short-listed applicants was almost £2million, and an extra level had to be added to the selection process to cope with the demand.

The priorities for CPF funding are job creation, advice services, safer communities, and involvement of residents in community activities, reflected in the groups chosen to receive the available £371,876.

At the Cabinet meeting on Monday (January 9) councillors voted unanimously to approve funding to these groups, subject to the confirmation of the annual budget, in February.

Councillor Jay Kramer, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: “We must look at the priorities and realise how vital this funding is.

“What we did not anticipate was the demand on this fund. Because of that we had to introduce a further stage of assessment.”

The largest chunk of the funding, £167,471, was allocated to Hastings Advice and Representation Centre (HARC) for the project Hastings Independent Legal Advice Services Partnership.

The funding will ensure the presence of the partnership at Renaissance House, which has been passed over to the voluntary sector as an advice hub.

Council leader Councillor Jeremy Birch said: “We are giving more to the voluntary sector than any other council in the whole of East Sussex.”