4:20pm Wednesday 28th July 2010
By Kirsty Whalley
Disabled children and youth groups are the next to suffer as news emerged of more council cuts in funding to the voluntary sector.
Last week, 10 projects providing vital support to some of the neediest children in the borough found out they were losing their share of £567,072 from the Children’s Fund.
Last year’s Croydon Champions team of the year is one of the groups to learn they will no longer get £57,500 in funding.
The dynamic teenagers, from Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA), have worked hard to improve the image of youths in the media.
Steve Phaure, chief executive of CVA, said: “Our young people are so articulate and well organised, this is what we will be losing.
“These cuts are indiscriminate and unco-ordinated. It begs the question, what is the council’s vision for the voluntary sector? At the moment it appears they have no vision.”
Mr Phaure has written to council leader Mike Fisher urging him to suspend any decisions to cut voluntary sector payments until he has consulted with him.
Together in Waddon, which has already suffered the loss of its core funding, will have to close completely after discovering it will lose a further £12,242.
Pete Allan, the director, said he had to turn parents away from their holiday club and tell them they would no longer be providing afterschool or Saturday activities for the 200 children they support.
He said: “The people who are making these decisions have no idea what this money has been used for. It is beyond disgraceful.”
Ironically, Together in Waddon has been awarded council funding for its elderly services, which it will not be able to use.
Vanessa Hosford, chief executive of Mencap, said her organisation was still reeling from the news they would lose vital funds they use to support disabled children.
Treetops Children’s Centre provides support for families of children with severe autism and cerebal palsy among other disabilities. It runs respite camps giving parents a break and time to devote to their other children who may not suffer from a disability.
She said: “We are shocked and disappointed.
“I understand the council position, I am a realist. What worries me is no one has sat down and talked to me about this. I have not had the chance to explain how necessary our support is.”
Other projects affected include Croydon Community Bus, which will lose £11,246. Sova will lose £12,680 for its Croydon Young people’s Project, Victim Support will lose £13,720 and the Croydon Youth Development Trust will lose £41,667 for its junior youth inclusion project.
The funding will be cut from the end of October instead of continuing until the end of the financial year. This will save the council £162,514.
A council spokesman said: “In passing on what it acknowledges to be ‘disappointing’ news in what are already very difficult times for the public and voluntary sector, Croydon Council is offering support and promising to keep organisations informed of potential partnership opportunities that are expected to emerge shortly as the council switches more of its direct operations to the voluntary sector.”
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