More than 60 voluntary groups in Derbyshire could have their funding pulled or reduced

Groups in Derbyshire could face funding cuts
Groups in Derbyshire could face funding cuts

More than 60 voluntary groups paid by Derbyshire County Council to provide vital care and assistance to the vulnerable, elderly and disabled, could see their funding pulled or reduced.

The groups run advice centres, home comfort services, discount furniture projects, lunch clubs, befriending for the isolated and lonely, food banks, and support for those with dementia and learning disabilities.

Last year, the county’s main healthcare organisations - the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) - attracted mounting controversy as they looked to cut grant support to the voluntary groups which provide these services by £1.2 million.

The CCGs are facing a funding shortfall of £51 million they need to plug.

After a round of intense scrutiny and debates, many led by the county council, they opted to make just shy of £500,000 in cutbacks to these groups.

Now the county council, which has its own funding shortfall of £63 million, is looking to carry out similar funding reductions.

It is looking to review all of the grants it gives to 61 voluntary and community sector (VCS) groups – which totals £1.2 million.

All of this annual funding will remain at its current level while it is scrutinised to see if each group and the services it runs are ‘cost-effective, coordinated and sustainable’.

However, it has also said it aims to give £27,005 to volunteer-run community transport groups which have already been hit and are struggling due to CCG cutbacks.

It says the CCG cuts are putting more pressure on its adult social care team.

The county’s cabinet will discuss the proposals at a meeting on Thursday, February 28.

Council leader Barry Lewis, said: “We’re very proud of the work of the voluntary and community sector in Derbyshire, which does an excellent job helping the council support local people.

“We were disappointed the NHS pulled funding from two jointly-funded community transport services which help people get to their GP and hospital appointments.

“By proposing to increase our funding level to these services, we’re ensuring vulnerable people still continue to get the help they need.”

He added: “We have ongoing pressures on our budgets and by securing grant funding for another year it gives us the time and space to have a conversation with the voluntary sector about what the future funding landscape looks like while trying to protect the vital work they do.”

Community transport services in the High Peak and North Derbyshire Dales are operated by a consortium of four organisations which are Voluntary and Community Services Peaks and Dales, Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport, New Mills Volunteer Centre and the Bureau Glossop.

The South Derbyshire and South Derbyshire Dales service is operated by a consortium of two organisations, which are South Derbyshire Community Volunteer Service and Voluntary and Community Services Peaks and Dales.

These services have provided 12,287 journeys (including 1,019 for people who use wheelchairs) during the period April to November 2018.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service