Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cuts to voluntary groups in Croydon

Addington Community Centre Association
Age Concern Croydon
Association of Jamaicans
Bangladesh Welfare Association of Croydon*
British Afghan Association & Immigration Advisory Centre
Croydon Appliance Reuse Centre**
Croydon Community Mediation
Croydon Community Care Service
Rape and Sex Abuse Support Centre****
Relate Croydon MG
Refugee Project Croydon
Victim Support Croydon

Above is a pot pourri of local organisations within the voluntary sector who will no longer get grant money from the council.
Overall this is cut from £1.8million a year to £625,000 a year over the next four years. A total of 47 groups that were previously supported by the council will lose their funding. A total of 126 voluntary organisations applied for money from the Stronger Communities Fund, including a community association that I am trustee for.

Many of the organisations act as a safety net for the most vulnerable in our society. The lucky half dozen that were successful in their applications have been identified as "strategic and infrastructure groups". One such organisation is the Croydon Citizens Advice Bureau, whose Chair is Andy Bebington, Green Party candidate for Shirley ward. Their funding has been slashed by 34%. One would surmise that this probably means redundancies; leading to a reduced service for an ever increasing number of people who are seeking advice on their employment rights and financial situation, e.g.. mortgage and rent arrears, as result of the recession. Just how does the Big Society fill the gap here???

Local newspaper coverage, Croydon Advertiser and Croydon Guardian


* The President of the Bangladesh Welfare Association of Croydon (BWAC) is a Badsha Quadir. In May he was elected as Conservative councillor for Purley ward. Now he is voting to slash his own associations' £50,000 grant. How twisted is that? The BWAC manager, Abdul Gofur, says that they "will be forced to close."

**The councils advises residents wishing to dispose of their domestic appliances and furniture to contact ARC (Croydon Appliance Reuse Centre). Now this group is without local funding.

*** Nightwatch is a charity that provides food, equipment and shelter to the homeless. It has been doing this since 1976. The mere £2000 it received from the Council has reduced to zero. That said, the group will continue thanks to donations.

****The Rape and Sex Abuse Support Centre will see their funding cut to zero from £30,000. One hopes that Mayor Boris Johnson maintains the level of support required to keep this organisation operating at the levels necessary to meet demand.

One final thing, an acquaintance who went along to the demo, outside the Town Hall, said she saw a few faces demonstrating that have were arguably Conservative voters!

Letter sent to the Croydon Guardian:


Dear Editor,

It is difficult not to get angry when one reads of the £1.2m cuts to local charities and voluntary organizations (Fury as door slams on charities –July 14th), especially as I am a trustee of a local charity affected.

Both Labour and the ConDems have cleverly conditioned us all into believing that cuts such as these are wholly necessary to tackle the budget deficit.

However, there is an alternative to these drastic measures. The Green Party has joined forces with Oxfam, Save the Children and Trade Unions and called for a tiny banking tax, known as a Robin Hood tax, on large financial transactions. Just 0.005 per cent levied on the billions of pounds traded every day by fund managers would raise enough money to avoid the austerity drive. The Institute for Public Policy Research has found that the financial sector can afford to pay £20bn in taxes this year alone. It is important not to forget that the bankers got us in to this financial mess in the first place. Due to poor regulation, the banks operated in a fashion more akin to a casino, safe in the knowledge that they were too big to fail - the government of the day would always bail them out.

Apparently, “we are all in this together”, yet these cuts will hit the poorest in our communities the most, whilst the £1 trillion bank bailout, and subsequent feeble regulation, has ensured the bonus culture is intact.

This is very strong smelling coffee. Isn’t it time we all woke up?

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan

Croydon Green Party

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