Funding news

Funding should focus on community groups, according to Community Sector Coalition - 23 March 2010

A new report claims many are left out of decision-making, and third sector funding should be focused more on helping local community groups to grow from the bottom up rather than on implementing top-down formulas

The report, Unleashing the Potential, to be published next month, calls for a new funding settlement between the next government and the sector that would give better recognition the scale of grass-roots organisations. It states that focusing on public service delivery is irrelevant to most voluntary organisations, whose needs are largely ignored.

"At national and local level, significant decisions are made, supposedly for all, that do not involve or connect with any organisations below a certain size or profile," the report says.

"Most community groups are left out of this decision-making process due to a lack of voice and representation. There is a huge policy gap regarding the community sector."

On the reverse, the report does mention some positive initiatives, such as the Grassroots Grants endowment match fund and the Communitybuilders programme. But it adds: "This approach is not always sustained, as demonstrated by the recent exclusion of the community code from the revised Compact and the cancellation of the Campaigning Research Programme."

The report suggests that the provision of more small grants programmes and community chests would be a cost-effective way of stimulating grass-roots activity.

"What cannot be allowed to continue is the structural inequality that puts distance between rich and poor, large and small in the sector, a feature of recent years."

To read the full article, visit the Third Sector website.