Gosport charities tell council chiefs how they use cash

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CHARITIES have been quizzed by councillors about how they spend the borough council’s grant money.

It comes after the authority announced earlier this year it would ask charities receiving more than £20,000 in grants to see their business plans.

Gosport Voluntary Action and Gosport Citizens’ Advice Bureau have now proved their worth, presenting to members at two meetings of the policy and organisation board.

Anita Muff is the manager of Gosport CAB, based at Martin Snape House, in Pavilion Way, Gosport.

She faced questions from members about whether or not the service could cope with a decrease in its grant.

After the meeting Ms Muff said the service was on a tight budget and would have to cut its services if its grant reduced.

‘Really they were quite supportive,’ she said. ‘But they did ask a question, which was “what would you do with a little less money if that happened?”

‘We explained we’d have to cut the support we give volunteers at the bureau through paid staff.

‘They didn’t mention hundreds of thousands of pounds but it looks like they were trying to be as cost-effective as they possibly could be.’

Gosport CAB receives £91,890 from Gosport Borough Council, along with a grant of around £31,000 for a homelessness project.

Councillors also asked how the service uses its 52 volunteers, which it says adds £238,908 in value to CAB.

Last year CAB had 7,391 people ask for help and it negotiated £314,944 in debt.

And Ms Muff was asked if CAB could share a reception with its neighbour, GVA, to avoid duplication in admin and reception staff.

But Ms Muff told The News that it would not work due to the complexity of the work done by its reception staff.

David Miles, the chief executive of Gosport Voluntary Action said the presentation he gave was similar to that he was due to give at the group’s AGM.

At GVA’s presentation members acknowledged the work done by staff at GVA.

It receives £63,110 from the borough council.

Councillors heard how the organisation, which is an umbrella for a number of groups, was looking into a way to distribute its newsletter to its members.

Cllr Mark Hook, leader of the borough council, said the meetings had gone well.