By Tom Moseley, Parliamentary Correspondent and Emily Koch / email@example.com
FORTY charities in Bristol are facing cuts of thousands of pounds, a new study has revealed.
The cash-strapped council has reduced funding for dozens of groups, with those affected including elderly and disabled people, community associations and ethnic minorities.
The anti-cuts website False Economy obtained details of the grant cuts through Freedom of Information Act requests to councils across the country.
The cuts have totalled more than £100 million in England in the past year, but the final figure is likely to be far higher because some authorities have not yet finalised their plans, said the report.
Also affected in Bristol are the lesbian, gay and bisexual forum and the Older People’s Forum, which are both losing £2,155, community centres, youth work organisations, local groups working to cut domestic violence and a centre for deaf people.
Among the largest cuts was to Barton Hill Settlement, which works with the community in East Bristol, which had £6,515 cut from its council grant, while the Qaurtet Community Foundation lost all of its City Hall £100,000 support, the report said.
Joanna Holmes, chief executive of Barton Hill Settlement, said: “We have known about these cuts since last December, which has at least given us some time to plan.
“Obviously any cut has an impact but we are much more concerned about next year and the year after that.
“We are mostly concerned about the communities we serve. We are facing more demand – on one hand an explosion of need and on the other reduced funding.
“I’m not angry about it, but I hope we can negotiate with the council and talk about what is to happen over the next few years.”
Clifford Singer, False Economy campaign director, said: “These cuts go deep into the voluntary and community sectors. These are not just nice to have groups but organisations providing vital services for older people trying to maintain independent lives, vulnerable children and abused women.”
Local Government Association chairman Sir Merrick Cockell, said local authorities were not to blame for the cuts to charity grants.
He said: “The severity of cuts to council budgets means savings are having to be made across the board and unfortunately funding to charities, voluntary organisations and community groups is not exempt.”
But the government blamed some councils for being “short-sighted” in passing on grant cuts directly to charities, rather than look for additional savings elsewhere.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “Councils have challenging decisions to make around how they prioritise spending but the government is clear that councils must resist any temptation to pass on disproportionate savings to the voluntary sector.”
The council’s cabinet member for care and health, councillor Jon Rogers, said: “It is important to note that this funding is within the context of the council’s total investment this year in the charity and voluntary sector of around £40 million.
“While the overall spend has shrunk overall by around £700,000 for this year, there are equally opportunities for the sector as the council looks to deliver services differently. Take our review of Bristol Youth Links, where there is potential for the sector to gain a greater share of the annual funding – indeed we have invested resources through training to ensure they are prepared for this opportunity.”