Havant groups to be told: Tell us why you deserve funding

WORRIED Cllr Terry Hart of Leigh Park Community Association, which may be hit by grant cuts
WORRIED Cllr Terry Hart of Leigh Park Community Association, which may be hit by grant cuts
Councillor Luke Stubbs

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CHARITIES, community associations and art organisations fear they could be hit by a major council funding review.

Havant Borough Council is looking at the grants given to 13 voluntary organisations including Off The Record, The Spring and Leigh Park Community Association.

They have each been asked to give details of how a cut in council grant of between five and 20 per cent would affect them.

It comes as the council looks to make savings in its grants budget for 2012/2013.

Terry Hart, holding treasurer at Leigh Park Community Association, which receives £8,600 a year, said: ‘It’s obviously a warning that there’s going to be a cutback.

‘My concern is that it should not just be about money.

‘It should be about what benefits the organisations can offer to the community and what the loss to the community will be if they lose funding.

‘The Community Association oversees the carnival and the Christmas grotto.

‘Any cuts will affect so many people, vulnerable people as well – children whose parents can’t afford to take them into Portsmouth to see Father Christmas.’

But Theresa Wade, chief executive of Off The Record, says she understands the position the council is in.

‘It is an enormous concern to us if any statutory funding is being cut but the council has been incredibly supportive to us over the years.’

And Rachel Warsop, manager of Portsmouth and District Relate, said: ‘While these potential cuts are unwelcome they are certainly not a surprise.

‘We understand the council needs to take steps to ensure that it and residents continue to get the best possible services from diminishing funds.’

Council leader Tony Briggs said: ‘We are looking to see if we are getting value for money and the grants are given to organisations who deliver services that perhaps others are not.

‘I can’t say there’s no funding cuts for anyone until we have the report back into the service level agreements and the services being provided.

‘If we find we are funding two organisations to deliver exactly the same service, that does not make sense.

‘What we would be looking to do is to just fund one of them.

‘It’s really about maximising the service to the population within the grant level we have.’

The review should be completed by the end of December.