VOLUNTARY SECTOR FUNDING – A number of discussion papers were commissioned by the Office of the Third Sector during the Government’s Third Sector Review. These include ‘Improving small scale grant funding for local voluntary and community organisations’. See www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/research_statistics/discussion_papers.asp. Meanwhile in its recent report Hearts and Minds: commissioning from the voluntary sector, (see last issue of Youth News) the Audit Commission said there was no evidence councils were reducing total expenditure on grants. It claimed they were merely â€œaligning their grant giving better with their strategic prioritiesâ€?. However, Kevin Curley, chief executive of Navca, has written to Steve Bundred, the commissionâ€™s chief executive, to dispute that claim. He said it did not accord with a Navca survey of local infrastructure organisations in 2006 that found 27 per cent of local authorities were no longer providing grant aid to local organisations. His letter read: â€œWe do have to question the basis on which you reached your conclusion about local authority grant aid. Of the 14 authorities you surveyed, only nine provided you with information about grants. Of the nine, five had increased grant aid between 2002/03 and 2004/05 and four had reduced it. This represents a very small sample and does not appear to us to support the conclusion you reachedâ€?.
COMMUNITY ASSETS PROGRAMME – this is a Â£30m fund from the Office of the Third Sector and delivered by the Big Lottery Fund to enable third sector organisations to have greater control over the assets they use, such as community buildings. It will facilitate the transfer of genuine assets from local authorities to third sector organisations for their use as community resources. The programme will offer grants of between Â£150,000 and Â£1 million for refurbishment of local authority buildings, including community centres and other multi-purpose facilities, so they can benefit both local communities and the third sector organisations that take them on. There will be a single bidding round for all applications, which closes on 15th November 2007. Application details can be seen at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_community_assets.htmPhenomena