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Voluntary Organisations to benefit from new fund

Posted: 7th December 2015

The Council’s Education, Children and Families Committee is set to approve a new £3m cash fund, which will support over 65 voluntary organisations helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children and their families in Edinburgh.

The groups, which include youth projects, children’s clubs and mental health charities, are set to be allocated the money by the Communities and Families service of the City of Edinburgh Council.

In addition a total of 26 organisations could benefit for the first time after a new formula used to allocate the money opened up the bidding process to a wider range of applicants.

In another positive development a sum of £130,000 has been set aside for a Small Grants Project which will allocate grants of between £1,000 and £10,000, and is currently open for applications.

In total 107 organisations – with 26 being new applicants – submitted bids of £6.4m from the Revenue Grants fund of £3m, which are detailed in the Children and Families Revenue Grants to Third Parties 2016/19.

It is recommended that successful new applicants are given 50% of their bid whilst organisations that had received funding in 2015/16 are to be given the same amount as last year. The allocation means as many groups as possible can now benefit which was a key aim after feedback from the voluntary sector who said allowing more organisations to receive grants would achieve maximum value for money.

Councillor Paul Godzik said: “This is a new process for allocating grants which has been designed to meet our strategic objectives for helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children and their families across the whole of Edinburgh.

“This has been an open process, with considerable effort going in to engaging the voluntary sector and it’s a really positive that 26 new organisations will benefit from our funding.  It is clear however that demand for funding is very significant and we have taken on board advice from the voluntary sector about spreading the money as widely as possible.”

Ella Simpson, Director of EVOC (Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council) said: “The Council consulted the Third Sector on the aims and purpose of the grants programme and the proposal to move to three year funding. The involvement of the Chief Officer’s Group in a meeting to consider the evaluation and scoring process was a welcome addition.

“This was in response to concerns expressed by EVOC and other stakeholders. Now that the principle of partnership working in relation to the grants programme has been established we look forward to developing this further.”

The Lothian Autistic Society applied for the first time and are set to received £33,000. Ann Brown, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the award because for small organisations like ours it’s really significant especially in the ever-changing financial environment.

“We’re a charity that operates on a shoe string so we always have to be creative with our ideas and projects so this is great recognition which means more than just money.”

Project Scotland, which is an Edinburgh Youth Volunteering Project, also applied for the first time and is recommended to receive £24,000.

Paul Reddish, Chief Executive of Project Scotland, said: “We’re obviously delighted given how tough funding is just now in the voluntary sector and this grant will allow us to continue with our project work.

“It means we will be able to increase the number of young people we can help in Edinburgh over the next three years.”

Details of the awards are detailed in the Children and Families Revenue Grants to Third Parties 2016/19 being discussed by the Education, Children & Families Committee tomorrow (Tuesday 8 December).

Applications for the Small Grants Project are currently open, closing on 5 January. Information on applying can be found on the Lothian Association of Youth Clubs’ website.

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