Volunteer support group in Fareham faces cuts if it loses tender

  • Fareham Borough Council is tending out support servcies for community and voluntary services
  • The services have been provided by Community Action Fareham for 30 years
  • There are fears a group from outside the area would offer an inferior service
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A GROUP will have to ‘reconsider its direction’ of it fails to win a council contract to provide volunteer support.

Community Action Fareham (CAF) stands to lose thousands of pounds if Fareham Borough Council awards a tender for support services for community and voluntary groups to someone else.

Understanding the local community is a really important part of what we do

Paul O’Beirne

Following a six-month process, the council has picked one of six tenders – including an application from CAF – to continue the work the service now does.

The decision will be announced by next Monday.

CAF chief executive Paul O’Beirne said it was too early to tell what losing the tender would mean for the service.

He said the CAF’s ‘core funding’ consisted of about £40,000 a year provided by Hampshire County Council and a ‘similar amount’ from Fareham, which was now in danger.

He said: ‘The CAF trust said that they will have a meeting to talk about it, so we can’t actually judge the implications of it yet.

‘It would mean that somebody else would get that £40,000 to provide the same services we do.’

The tender is for three aspects of CAFs service – funding advice, governance and volunteering.

Joyce Neville, a trustee of Fareham and Gosport Family Aid, spoke at a council meeting last week where the tender was approved.

Mrs Neville said she feared giving the tender to a group other than CAF would lead to a decrease in the quality of the service.

She said: ‘It would be disappointing.

‘Community Action Fareham is a local service for local people.

‘My worry is that it will no longer be run by a local organisation.’

But council leader Councillor Sean Woodward said the council was satisfied winning tender would be able to provide a high-quality service.

He said: ‘We thought it was right to go tender.

‘We’ve been dealing with the same group now for 30 years and I would expect that any organisation would have a look around in that time.

‘It has been a very 
rigorous process of meetings, interviews and evaluation.’

Cllr Woodward said no matter what the outcome, CAF would continue to offer other services including ShopMobility and Dial-a-Ride.