Council attacks local voluntary groups

Jo Swinson MP has slammed East Dunbartonshire Council for cutting grants to community organisations by 48% without consulting its Grants Advisory Committee.

It has emerged that East Dunbartonshire Council will cut the funding for its Community Grants Scheme by £88,000, despite not have announced this in its annual budget last week.

The Council has an advisory committee made up of 25 elected local people from the community and voluntary sector, which makes recommendations on how grants should be given.

The scheme has recently awarded grants to the following:

The Ethnic Minority Forum in East Dunbartonshire, Harestanes Baptist Church in Kirkintilloch, Lennoxtown Learners Forum, The Hospital Broadcasting Service, Kirkintilloch Band, Reality Adventure Works, East Dunbartonshire Initiative for Creative Therapy, Friends of Instrumental Music in East Dunbartonshire Schools, LGBT Youth Scotland, Twechar Youth Group, ChildLine Scotland and Woodhill Residents Association, St Andrew’s Ambulance Association in Strathkelvin, the Ethnic Minority Forum in East Dunbartonshire, Bearsden and Milngavie Ramblers Association, The Hospital Broadcasting Service, East Dunbartonshire Initiative for Creative Therapy, Friends of Instrumental Music in East Dunbartonshire Schools, Bearsden and Milngavie Youth Orchestra, the Milngavie Pipe Band, LGBT Youth Scotland, ChildLine Scotland.

Commenting, Jo Swinson said:

“The drastic cutting of funding for local community organisations represents an attack on the local voluntary sector. That the Labour-Tory administration did not announce it in the budget, and did not even consult the elected body which was set up for that specific purpose, makes this even more underhand.”

Phillip Rose and Gino Satti, Chair and Vice Chair of the Grants Advisory Committee said:

“We as a committee, and also others in the voluntary sector, are highly disappointed that the Council took this decision without any due consultation with voluntary sector. They’re ring-fencing £88,000 for hanging baskets, Christmas lights and the canal festival because they’re concerned about what the public will think, but they should be more concerned about what the public is going to say if we cut back grants for voluntary groups in East Dunbartonshire.

“Much of the money we are left with has already been committed in three year grants, so the amount we are able to give in new grants will be drastically reduced. The GAC are hopeful that the once the Council understands the negative effects of this cut to local vulnerable groups in our community they may rethink this decision.”

Bearsden Councillor Ashay Ghai said:

“As a Voluntary Sector professional for many years I know the huge contribution it makes. This action will hit small voluntary sector organisations hardest and consequently those that rely on them. It is yet another sign that this Labour-Tory Council Administration has turned its back on the most vulnerable in our community.”

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