This report is due to be pre-scrutinised at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee scheduled to take place on Thursday 20th October 2022. Any recommendations arising from this meeting will be reported in a supplementary pack for the Executive Committee’s consideration.
The Head of Community and Housing Services presented a report on the subject of the Voluntary Bodies Scheme for Members’ consideration.
The Executive Committee was advised that the Council’s existing Voluntary Sector grants scheme was due to expire in March 2023. For the new scheme, Officers were proposing that the concessionary rents element of the existing scheme should be removed and that there should be a budget of £100,000 from which Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) groups could apply for funding, together with a £50,000 grant for Financial Advice and Problem Solving. In addition, it was suggested that the income from the community lottery scheme should be allocated to the VCS grants budget.
A consultation exercise had been undertaken with VCS groups. In the feedback received from VCS organisations, it had been consistently reported that groups needed funding to help cover both core costs and the costs of delivering new projects. Four options had been identified for the VCS grants scheme moving forward and the feedback from VCS groups had indicated that the second option would be appreciated the most by the sector. This would entail implementing the proposed changes to the scheme, together with allowing two types of application to be submitted; the first for smaller grants valued at between £500 and £2,000 and the second for larger grants valued at over £2,000 up to £10,000.
During consideration of this item, reference was made to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 20th October 2022 at which the report had been pre-scrutinised. The Committee had concluded by recommending that the Council should adopt the second option. The Executive Committee discussed this recommendation and in doing so noted that this corresponded with the feedback that had been received from VCS organisations. Taking this into account, the value of the work delivered by VCS groups in the local community, and the potential additional flexibility that would be created from offering two different types of application, the Executive Committee also agreed to support the second option in the report.
1) the funding for the VCS Grants Scheme be agreed for a further three year period in line with option 2
2) delegated authority be given to the Head of Community and Housing Services,following consultation with the Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Development, Commercialism and Partnerships, to agree a revised VCS Grants Policy in accordance with the proposals within this report.