Funding news

Campaigning Research Programme cancelled because of fears of direct campaigning? - 17 February 2010

According to the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Community and Voluntary Sector, the grant programme was scrapped after officials objected to plans by grant recipients to use the money for direct campaigning,

The Government's stated reason for cancelling the £750,000 programme last November, three weeks after the successful applicants had been announced, was that the money would be better spent topping up the £16.7m Hardship Fund, which offers grants to front-line charities struggling as a result of the recession. Howver, the MP Tom Levitt says the Government cancelled the fund rather than "name and shame" organisations

A spokesman for the Office of the Third Sector rejected Levitt's theory. "The minister cancelled the fund because, in this economic climate, she decided the money would be better spent supporting front-line, recession-focused services," he said. "The decision to transfer funding had nothing to do with groups' use of the funds."

The spokesman said the second phase of the programme would have funded campaigns that had been planned in the first phase.

Rikki Arundel, founder of transgender support social enterprise Gender Shift, one of the intended recipients, said it was impossible to learn about campaigning without actively doing it. "It would be like learning to swim by watching a video," she said.

At the time of the decision, Arundel said she thought the Government might be worried about tabloid newspapers criticising it for funding fringe social groups.

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