Improvements to funding system for voluntary groups set to be agreed

Proposals to change the way the council funds West Lothian voluntary organisations are set to be agreed.

The Voluntary Organisations Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel (PDSP) recommended that improvements be put in place to the way local organisations are funded from 2021/22.

This will now go to the Council Executive for final approval.

A working group was established between council officers and third sector representatives to develop a joint approach over a new funding model. 

The new approach is a mix of interim funding for areas of work that are part of transition to a commissioning or Service Level Agreement approach and direct grants available to local organisations focused on the key issues currently facing our communities.

Executive councillor for voluntary organisations, Kirsteen Sullivan, said: “The voluntary sector in West Lothian does a fantastic job, supporting the needs of our communities.

“This new approach to funding has been developed in partnership with local voluntary organisations, to help us work together to respond to the challenges we face in West Lothian.

“The impact of Covid-19 has affected many local residents, changing their needs and how best we can work to support them.

“The response from the West Lothian voluntary sector to this has been amazing, and these changes will support them to help their communities going forward.”

 

Proposed arrangements for 2021/22 will see interim transitional grants of £586,004 for specific organisations to support their ongoing valuable work while the new SLAs are put in place or a commissioning process is carried out.

A new £400,000 Third Sector Community Support Fund 2021/22 is also proposed, which will open up the application process to ensure it is available to all third sector organisations, to help address the key issues facing our communities as we move through the Covid-19 pandemic.

There will be no twinning grants next year, with the funds allocated for 2020/21 rolled over, and the total funding available for local voluntary organisations will remain unchanged.

A Community Choices pilot was delayed due to coronavirus will also be carried out, with the aim of disbursing at least some of any future funding through the Community Choices scheme.

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