£1.2m funding cuts to voluntary groups are axed

Andrew Burns
Andrew Burns
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MAJOR funding cuts set to hit voluntary groups in Edinburgh are expected to be reversed next week, city leaders say.

Third sector organisations are facing a £1.2 million loss from April when Edinburgh City Council reduces its expenditure for 2013-2014.

However, city leader Andrew Burns said the local authority would find a way to safeguard funding for crucial services.

The local authority will publish its draft budget on Thursday and there is already broad support for voluntary funding.

Recipients including the Canongate Youth Project, which is 45 per cent funded by the local authority, and the Simpson House Drugs Counselling Service, which is 15 per cent funded, were among the many expected to feel cuts.

In Edinburgh there are 15,000 people working on the paid third sector and a further 120,000 unpaid volunteers.

Ella Simpson, director of the Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council said: “This funding goes to small community organisations on the whole. In many cases these are groups which perhaps have a few members of staff or even just voluntary workers, perhaps youth clubs, food banks, and lunch clubs.

“The grants programme from Edinburgh City Council is a long-standing programme but has been pinched and nipped around the edge for some time. This year £1m from the pot was going to be cut which is a huge reduction and would have created a real instability for organisations which make a real change to community life. From what we’ve been told there there’s a real willingness to prevent this.”

Ms Simpson said in many cases the council provided core funding which enabled groups to win cash from other sources.

She said: “For every pound the council invests they will lever in many more from the National Lottery, Lloyds TSB and others.”

Gavin Corbett, finance spokesman for the Edinburgh Greens, said: “A cut of over £1 million to those organisations would be a false economy that the council should reject.”

City leader Andrew Burns said: “It is certainly the Capital coalition’s intention next week to reverse the £1.2 million cut to the voluntary sector and reinstate the grant aid by that amount to ensure much needed services continue.”

Councillors vote on the final budget on February 7.

By numbers:

2753 charities based in Edinburgh

1101 work exclusively in Edinburgh

1000 non-charity third sector organisations

15,000+ paid workforce

120,000+ unpaid volunteer workforce

37% income from statutory funding

12% income from public donations