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Camden to offer one of the most generous voluntary and community sector (VCS) support packages in the UK

At a time when many authorities are slashing VCS budgets, Camden Council has announced a new package of funding and support to organisations in the borough following the Council’s Cabinet meeting last night.

Despite having to make £700,000 of savings as a result of Government cuts, the new package – a total of £5.1 million – is believed to be one of the largest anywhere in the UK. It could also see organisations awarded funding for up to seven years: a length of funding rarely seen, particularly in the current financial context.

By 2018 Camden Council will have made £168 million of savings from its overall budget, but will remain one of the most generous funders of the VCS in the country.

In addition to the £5.1m to be spent directly with the sector next year, the authority spends £37m – some 16 per cent of its budget for all commissioned services – on grants and commissioning services through the voluntary sector.

As part of the new arrangements, the Council has also re-examined its relationship with the VCS and, working in partnership with organisations, will set up an advisory group to ensure funding is effectively targeted to where it will have the greatest impact.

Cllr Sally Gimson, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said:

“Voluntary organisations play an essential role in tackling some of the borough’s most ingrained problems and – although some councils have cut funding completely – we believe it is vital that we continue to support them.

“We are, however, facing a huge financial challenge as a result of Government cuts and must reduce our budget by £75 million by 2018. But this is not just about making savings. Thanks to the input of dozens of organisations across the borough, I am confident that this new arrangement will provide fairer funding, and funding that is focused on the most vulnerable in our communities.’

Camden Council currently provides funding to over 200 organisations across the Borough and over 70 of these took part in the formal consultation. Their feedback was used to shape the final funding model.

The Council’s new support model will involve the creation of two pots of money:

  • The Strategic Partners Fund (£1.8m to £2m) will target investment to communities of the Borough with the highest levels of need and deprivation.
  • The Community Impact Fund (up to £1 million) will bring together the combined resources of the VCS, Council, health and private sector partners to tackle ingrained problems.

The full report on the new funding arrangement can be found here.