Funding news

Government funds 'shut out bids from smaller charities' - Wednesday 17 September 2008

Over 50 charities have signed a letter calling on the Government to abandon plans to allow only charities with annual incomes of at least £400,000 to apply for funding from its new Empowerment Fund.

The Communities and Local Government department is setting up the £7.5m Empowement Fund to help registered charities run community schemes. But a consultation document on the proposals, to which interested parties can respond until the end of the month, proposes that charities with income less than £400,000 cannot apply.

Other government departments have also introduced similar income thresholds, e.g. the Department for Children, Schools and Families' Youth Sector Development Fund requires organisations to have an average annual turnover of at least £1m over a three-year period, and the Department of Health's Third Sector Investment Programme will only award grants that do not exceed 25 per cent of a charity's income.

Such practice has prompted claims of discrimination against smaller charities. "What really got the alarm bells ringing was the fact that the restrictions have appeared in funding programmes across several different departments," said Jay Kennedy, policy officer at the Directory of Social Change.

Arbitrary thresholds should be abandoned, said Kennedy. "The driving factor, surely, is the department's desire to cut down on administrative hassle," he said.

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