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The future of voluntary and community sector grants

Proposals to extend current grant cycle

Members of the Shadow Executive Committee are due to consider proposals to roll forward current arrangements for voluntary and community sector grants into 2019/20, when they meet later this month (17 September).

A number of the current grants are due to end in March 2019, but in order to give reassurance to the various organisations that the existing councils fund, it is proposed that the current arrangements can be extended for 12 months. The new Dorset Council goes live in April 2019 so detailed reviews of the grants will be undertaken for the 2020/21 budget.

The only exception to this is the £6,000 annual grant provided to each of five town partnerships in West Dorset. These grants are not provided elsewhere in Dorset and so it was considered inappropriate to continue with them in one area.

Dorset Area councils awarded £2million in grants to the voluntary sector this year. This will reduce to £1.5 million following the disaggregation of Christchurch and the removal of the one off grants already committed and town partnerships funding.

It is estimated 48% of the population volunteer on a regular basis. Volunteer Dorset Centre receive 2000 new applications each year and in their last full survey there were over 240,000 volunteers counted. The network of voluntary groups provide support to organisations which support local people across areas such as the environment, arts, heritage and community.

Cllr Sherry Jespersen, Lead Member for Communities on the Shadow Executive Committee said: “We recognise the valuable contribution our volunteers and community groups make to Dorset. Grants really enhance the welfare of communities and we need to make sure we give clarity over future arrangements as early as possible. The fairest way is to roll forward current arrangements and then review for the 2020/21 budget.”

You can see the report via this link: http://shadowcouncil.dorset.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=136

What is the Shadow Dorset Council?

The Shadow Dorset Council is made up of all councillors of six Dorset councils including Dorset County Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

We are collectively committed to develop a jointly owned, participative environment in which our strengths, experience and expertise can be shared for the benefit of the whole of Dorset.

We will work collaboratively to find solutions to current challenges which will strengthen all of our abilities to deal with the on-going issue of less finance and increased demand on our services. Central to our work will be a drive to improve outcomes for Dorset residents and communities. We will work together in partnership to improve collective decision making, putting communities at the heart of all we do.