Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

Report says new fund is needed to offset SRB wind-down

Measures to help community organisations deal with the end of the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) and avert a funding crisis may have come too late, a Government adviser has warned. A member of an independent task force set up to advise the Government on how the wind down of SRB should be managed has admitted that proposals outlined in the task force’s report were needed much earlier. The Local Community Sector Taskforce was set up in 2004 in response to funding problems in the voluntary and community sector, with the end of SRB funding looming in 2007. Its report, published this week, calls for funding of up to £50 million to provide small grants for community capacity building and for the doubling of the Adventure Capital Fund. But task force member Toby Blume told New Start magazine that Government and the sector had needed to move quickly in response to the end of SRB and its impact on local groups. This had not happened, he claimed. "Little was done to face the urgent situation around wind down of SRB and it was difficult to get any quick action on it," said Mr Blume, who is chief executive of Urban Forum. "There are recommendations to draw on money to replace SRB money, but that should have come at the beginning of the process. We would have liked to have seen some immediate action." The report recommends establishing a three-year fund of up to £50 million this year for community micro grants to help organisations develop social capital and build community capacity. It says Government offices should work with local authorities and other partners to identify ways to support the sector in the changing funding environment.  (from: NEW START 10-01-07) [12-01-07]