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Derbyshire council gives go-ahead for consultations into possibly stopping £1m of grants for community groups 

Derbyshire council has agreed to launch consultations into plans to end over £1m of funding for 50 community and voluntary groups as part of saving plans to balance an estimated overall budget deficit of over £39m for the 2024-25 financial year.

The Conservative-controlled county council approved two 12-week consultations during a Cabinet meeting on April 29 into the future of discretionary grant funding to voluntary and community groups which currently receive over £1m from the council.

People will be able to voice their views on council proposals that could see the end of two types of  handouts by March 2025, including Adult Social Care Discretionary Grant Funding, and Corporate Services and Transformation Discretionary Grant Funding.

Cllr Natalie Hoy, Cabinet Member for Adult Care: “Derbyshire’s population has changed and people’s aspirations, needs and preferences for support have also changed which is why it’s important to consider consulting to get their views to ensure we’re providing services they want and need to achieve better outcomes.”

She told the Cabinet meeting the council recognises the valuable contributions from the voluntary sector, many of whom have received council grants for over 20 years, and the council thanks them for their work but it is facing financial challenges with limited funding.

Stopping Adult Social Care Grants would affect 30 community and voluntary groups which currently receive annual grants totalling just over £722,000 to support work including advocacy, training, befriending and social activities.

The council currently provides discretionary grant funding to eleven voluntary sector organisations to help with befriending support and it also provides a discretionary grant to seven voluntary sector organisations to provide social inclusion activity including Mencap, Borrowbrook Homelink, Age UK, The African Caribbean Community Association and well-being charity The Bureau.

It has also supported luncheon clubs and the Bolsover Woodlands Enterprise, self-advocacy organisation Our Vision, Our Future for people with learning disabilities, and it has funded ten voluntary and community sector infrastructure organisations.

A further 20 groups, that currently receive just over £333,000, would be affected by the proposal to stop Corporate Services and Transformation Grants.

These include voluntary and community groups where funding has helped to support the black, minority and ethnic sector, and has helped with training and guidance and with specialist advice for groups including Derbyshire Law Centre and Citizens Advice Mid Mercia.

Derbyshire County Council stated of this total of 50 organisations, seven would be affected by both sets of proposals under Adult Social Care, and Corporate Services and Transformation, if they are finalised.

Cllr Carol Hart, Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, said: “We have a responsibility to ensure that we are making the best use of our finite resources to support people fairly across the whole of the county and that we are protecting services for those people who need us most.”

The council’s Cabinet also approved an interim grant of £78,462 for the Bolsover Woodland Enterprise up to March 2025 to support its work for people with learning disabilities which will bring its funding timetable in line with the other grant recipients.

Derbyshire County Council has been considering a number of far-reaching saving proposals to meet its budget deficit of over £39m for the 2024-25 financial year after it has blamed its financial plight on external economic influences.

These have included changes to the council’s children’s services, proposed changes affecting disabled children, the council’s elderly care homes and services for adults with learning disabilities.

Like many other local authorities, Derbyshire County Council has suffered from high inflation rates, the cost of living crisis, uncertainties with Government funding, rising costs and rising demands on services, and the impact of costly pay awards.

 

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