Council changes it voluntary support group after 30 years

Haverhill's Family Christmas Night (as pictured from last year) takes place on Friday, December 1. Picture by Andy Mayes.

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A GROUP that has provided support for community and voluntary groups in Fareham for 30 years has lost its council funding.

Fareham Borough Council put out the £41,000 annual contract to provide support for community and voluntary groups to tender for the first time in March.

This service had traditionally been run by Community Action Fareham and its chairman Raymond Hale spoke at the time of the group’s disappointment.

He said: ‘The sort of service that we provide in supporting volunteers and community groups is very difficult to measure.’

After a six-month process, six tenders were considered by the council, including one from Community Action Fareham.

The process looked at how the each group would meet the needs of community groups and organisations within the resources available and how they would monitor performance and ensure funding was being used where it was needed most.

Submissions were evaluated by officers and a panel of elected members from both political groups.

And now the council has confirmed that it has chosen One Community, an independent charity from Eastleigh which has 38 years’ experience, to run the service.

The company was awarded a two-year contract that starts on October 1.

Councillor Sue Bell, executive member for leisure and community, said thanked the staff and volunteers at Community Action Fareham for its work over recent years.

But she added: ‘We have a clear responsibility to ensure that any funding provided is targeted effectively and used efficiently.

‘The community and voluntary organisations we have in Fareham do a superb job and, to enable them to continue, they deserve the very best support that we can give them.

‘The tendering process attracted a lot of interest in this competitive market.’

The chief executive from One Community Jean Roberts-Jones said it was delighted to be awarded the tender and that it was in discussions with the council to set up outreach clinics in the town.

She said: ‘We’re really excited about this new opportunity and we’re looking forward to working with some new groups and new branches of groups that we already know.

‘It is a wonderful opportunity for the voluntary sector and I look forward to people contacting us in October.’

For more information on One Community go online at 1community.org.uk/ or call 023 8090 2400.

Community Action Fareham will continue to provide some services which Fareham Borough Council contributes funding to such as Dial a Ride and Shopmobility.