Sheffield City Council is continuing its commitment to helping the voluntary sector despite budget cuts.

In the next financial year the Council is proposing to give almost £2m to voluntary sector organisations. As with most areas of the budget a saving has had to be made, but the Council has been able to allocate £1,994,950 to the Voluntary Sector Grant Aid budget for 2014/15 which will be considered on 7 March.

It is proposed that Grant Aid will continue to support the delivery of Citizen Advice Services by the newly established Sheffield Citizen Advice and Law Centre (SCALC), as well as providing lunch clubs for older people across Sheffield. The Council will also provide support for voluntary sector infrastructure services and there will be a discretionary budget for activity that helps the most vulnerable.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Communities at Sheffield City Council said:

“We want to give as many people as possible the help and support that they need and have focused voluntary sector funding on tackling poverty and increasing social justice. Grant Aid will prioritise activity that we know has a direct benefit and works.

Unfortunately we won’t be able to fund any new projects and it is likely that we may have to stop funding some activity that either doesn’t address the needs of the most vulnerable or where we know that other funding is available. Here we will work with organisations to help them secure funding elsewhere.”

The Voluntary Sector Grant Aid is split into two funds:

  • Lunch Clubs Small Grants Fund
  • Voluntary Sector Grants Fund (three themes)
  • Tackling Poverty
  • Supporting the Voluntary Sector to thrive and deliver
  • Promoting Social and Financial Inclusion

Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet will also be asked to approve a full review of the current Voluntary Sector Grant Aid criteria and processes between now and the summer. This will inform a wider assessment of how the Council invests in the Voluntary Sector from next year and beyond.

Cllr Iqbal continued:

“As budgets continue to reduce we need to make sure that Sheffield’s Voluntary Sector is sustainable. That is why we are proposing a review of the current system. We want to work with voluntary groups so we can support them through change, help them access wider funding and make sure that they continue to provide services to the people of Sheffield. They provide key help support and advice to some of the most vulnerable in our city and we must do all we can to help make them sustainable for the long term.”