Cutting cash to charities will be a false economy

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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Another week and yet another charity is in The News because it is in financial trouble.

This time it’s Home-Start Havant that is threatened with closure.

And like Off The Record and The Rainbow Centre before it, this is no amateur, poorly-run organisation.

But the dedication of staff at all these charities can only go so far if they don’t have the money behind them to provide the services.

In this instance, Home-Start provides vital support to vulnerable families with children under school age.

Since announcing its plight, the Fareham-based Rainbow Centre, which helps youngsters with cerebral palsy, has been bowled over by the generosity of the public.

And Off The Record’s counselling service is looking at ways to get the funding it needs.

But despite the public’s kindness, this cash will not provide the long-term security these charities will need.

As Havant’s MP David Willetts says: ‘Local authorities should look after the voluntary sector because it does so much for people across Hampshire.

‘And it costs very little because so many people are volunteers. It’s not only the right thing to do, but also cost-effective,’

While it is understood that local authorities cannot fund all charities, it could prove to be a dangerous false economy if the councils slash their budgets for good causes.

In all three of these cases it is easy to see where money denied the charities would have to be spent when the people who could have gone to them for counselling, advice or physical therapy have to turn elsewhere in the system for help.

The county council has seen its budget hugely restricted in recent years and it is still looking to make huge cuts in the future.

Funding to the voluntary sector is not seen as being as vital as other services the council provides, but providing that funding helps to alleviate strains on other areas that the voting public do care about.