Hampshire County Council praises 'fantastic' volunteers and community organisations as £550,000 grants dished out

'FANTASTIC' voluntary and community organisations that helped the most vulnerable of Hampshire's residents during the pandemic will continue to get financial support from the county council.

Thursday, 24th March 2022, 12:09 pm

Hampshire County Council has approved grants totalling more than £550,000, which will be split between Community First and Citizens Advice.

It comes as the county council looks to a future where such organisations have an 'ongoing role' in providing services the council cannot run itself.

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Citizens Advice will receive some of the funding. Picture: Gerard Binks

Council officer Sarah Snowdon said: 'These services are very important in our strategic plan and preventing demand for the county council.

'The report also talks about the value of the work delivered during the pandemic and now during recovery.

'There is fantastic coverage from Citizens Advice right across Hampshire, and last year more than 42,000 citizens were helped at last count, which shows the impact of this funding.'

A panel of senior county council officers evaluated all submissions by organisations for the grants.

Community First received a significantly larger portion of the funding as they have been charged with redistributing that cash as they see fit.

'We recommend that these are one-year grants to reflect the uncertain financial context we currently operate in.

'The organisations accept this will be awarded for this year and we cannot commit funding beyond that point.'

Hampshire County Council has recognised that the voluntary and community sector's ability to help the most vulnerable people in society, including those who were shielding or self-isolating at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For this reason, officers were happy to approve the funding, and will keep an eye on things going forward in case further cash becomes available.

The county council's executive member for performance, human resources and partnerships, Cllr Stephen Reid, said: 'I'm sure that the organisations would like to have more than a one-year grant but I'm assuming that we cannot do that in the absence of a mult-year grant to ourselves from the government.

'Our hands are tied on this one.'

Graham Allen said: 'In an ideal world a multi-year award would be preferrable for both ourselves and the organisation.

'Should the situation change then that's what we would look to bring forward.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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