Greenwich councillors have signed off on £1.3m of cuts in funding to voluntary groups in the borough.
Decision-makers were tasked with making the chop following a government axe to the public health funding pot.
Grants worth £2.9m will be awarded following the cuts, but 99 applications were made by 63 groups asking for a combined £4.7m – well above the council’s new budget.
Signing off on the figures last night, council leader Danny Thorpe said last night: “The fact that we are here in the cabinet at a relatively peaceful meeting with no protests or demonstrations from affected groups or people who are upset speaks to the work of officers who have been clear and honest with people through this process.
“None of us get into politics to take money away from groups who do amazing things, but the £1.4m taken away from that budget could not have been replaced without taking money from other areas.”
Deputy leader David Gardner said that despite the government cutting the funding, Greenwich still has one of the largest pots in London, and the council would still help groups in other ways.
He added: “Whilst this is a significant stream of funding for the third sector, we do support the voluntary sector through other schemes and a range of other areas where we do support the sector. This isn’t the total sum of our support to the sector.
“Because of public health cuts – government cuts, I hasten to add – we have had to reduce the sum available – but it is one of the largest sums in London for this process.
“I am confident that despite many groups being disappointed, we can work effectively with them to leverage other funding and to build up their own fundraising.”
Last month, a scrutiny panel held three nights of behind-closed-doors meetings with affected groups. Dtails of the cuts have not been made public.
Video from 853‘s Darryl Chamberlain. Are you affected by Greenwich Council’s cuts to voluntary groups? Get in touch with 853 and tell your story; we’ll withhold names if need be. Email tell853something[at]gmail.com.
Tom Bull is the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich. The Local Democracy Reporter Scheme is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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