Charities warn of a council funding catastrophe

Youthgroupweb

A significant reduction in community funding in Edinburgh will affect thousands of families and could result in organisations closing

19th February 2019 by Gareth Jones 4 Comments

Funding cuts to vital community grants in Edinburgh could lead to a significant drop in services, a coalition of charities has warned.

The City of Edinburgh Council has proposed a reduction of £1.25 million to its Communities and Families Main Grant Programme over the next three years.

However the Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC) has warned the cuts, which it says amounts to 35% of the programme, will have a huge impact on many families in the Capital.

In a letter to councillors - backed by 68 members of EVOC’s young people and families network - the organisation’s chief executive Ella Simpson has called for the proposed cuts to be halted.

She said: “A loss of the preventative, early intervention services provided by these organisations will have a significant impact on children, young people and their families in Edinburgh, not least for those children and young people on the edges of care.

“In light of the recommendations following the 2016-19 Children and Families Grant process we are particularly disappointed at the lack of communication with the sector as regards this proposal.”

Services delivered by the funding include support for disabled children, volunteering and youth work opportunities for youngsters, and community food projects.

EVOC has quizzed its members on what effect losing the funding could have, with 22 organisations responding. All those who took part said losing the funding would mean projects would have to be closed or significantly reduced, with six charities at risk of closing down completely. It is estimated that as many as 7,000 young people and 1,800 families could be affected.

Simpson warned: “We are gravely concerned that this will pose a loss of a significant number of services for thousands of children, young people and families in Edinburgh.

“EVOC has collected evidence from organisations currently receiving Communities and Families Grant funding, to quantify the impacts of these cuts. This is not intended as an in-depth analysis, nor can we predict which organisations would lose funding, however it is a powerful demonstration of the scale of risk associated with such a cut.”

TFN has contacted The City of Edinburgh Council for comment.

19th February 2019 by Grant Recipient

We are very concerned. We run and early years service funded through this and which was the original Sure Start grant - we are a lifeline for parents and their children in a vulnerable part of the City. The new fund criteria has no mention early intervention or early years services which everyone knows can give children the best start in life, often saving thousands of pounds on potential interventions later on. The council is storing up problems for later which makes no sense. Our service will have to close. Its such a small amount of funding we get for a huge amount of impact. What are they thinking?

19th February 2019 by Home-Start Edinburgh West and South West

We know money is getting tighter but we can't afford to cut services that support families before the crisis point is reached. We believe in supporting parents and carers to gain the confidence to give their child the best start in life. We believe this approach can result in strong resilient children, families and communities. We value our volunteers and believe volunteering promotes positive mental health and the opportunity to gain new skills that could even help with future employment opportunities. Our service is achieving all this but we feel very vulnerable just now.

20th February 2019 by Grant Recipient

It is very disappointing that our early intervention work and contribution to safeguarding children & families in Edinburgh over the past 18 years is not being valued by the City of Edinburgh Council and furthermore now apparently not even being recognised within their proposed priorities for 2020-2023. Providing support to families at the earliest possible time is crucial and widely known to be the best approach - it is absolutely working in our provision and we know this because parents/carers tell us every day! We work tirelessly to ensure we remain flexible in our approach and are therefore able to adapt our services to meet the changing needs of the families we support this is something that is valued hugely by our families. Edinburgh needs these different types of services to exist and the Council must accept it cannot provide them through their own provisions alone. We give exceptional value for money and would urge the decision makers to give serious consideration to this going forward.

24th February 2019 by Fiona Gray (Mrs)

The impact on vulnerable single parent families will be incalculable with parents and young children badly affected. Staff who have built up trust with these families will be lost if the CEC goes ahead with these swingeing cuts. Please reconsider before it is too late!