Voluntary groups in funding limbo fear loss of staff

VOLUNTARY organisations in Camden have been left in limbo because the Town Hall cannot guarantee funding for the future

Ben McPartland

VOLUNTARY organisations in Camden have been left in limbo because the Town Hall cannot guarantee funding for the future.

Community centres and youth projects fear they will lose staff because the council cannot confirm how much money they will get for the next financial year.

A decision is due by the end of February but this will be too late for the many organisations which need to give staff at least three months' notice if they are to be made redundant.

The head of a project which runs schemes for vulnerable youths and the elderly spoke to the Ham&High on condition of anonymity due to fears of missing out on future funding.

She said: "Basically we should be giving all our staff notice of redundancy now but if we do that they will go looking for another job. We have invested a small fortune in our staff to deliver the services we want. The last thing we want to do is undermine their commitment to the job. We need to find out what is happening here. We don't know how much of our reserves will be able to cover a three-month notice period.

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"The reality is that something will be confirmed but we don't know what. By then, the job of looking for alternative sources of funding will be jeopardised.

"We feel the situation has been getting worse since the new administration took over the running of the council."

Labour councillor for Regent's Park Heather Johnson said: "I have worked in the voluntary sector and I know how difficult it is to make decisions if you don't have any information about your funding.

"The council should be making sure organisations are on a secure footing."

A Camden Council spokeswoman said: "The council is still to take decisions on Area Based Grants and until it takes a decision on how much will be allocated to departments the Children Schools and Families directorate cannot make any commitments to individual groups.

"Letters were sent out before Christmas letting each organisation know about the delay and apologising for this. The council is committed to continue to make every effort in delivering the Every Child Matters agenda, the priorities in our Children and Young People's Plan and in improving outcomes for children and young people in Camden.

"These priorities will continue to drive our commissioning intentions within the resources available."