09 March 2011

Big Society, little budgets

A few months ago Civil Society minister, Nick Hurd praised the charity TimeBank (which matches volunteers to charities where their expertise is most useful – it has placed 300,000 people with charities over the last ten years)

After speaking at an event in December, he wrote on Twitter: "Happy 10th anniversary to TimeBank! Good event trying to counter cynicism on Big Society."

You would have thought then that TimeBank would be an organisation that the government would be keen to fund given its push towards the “Big Society”….. but you would think wrongly

According to the Independent the Office of Civil Society (surely a department that was made for Jim Hacker…) has refused to continue providing Timebank with a strategic partnership grant of over £500,000, an amount that represents a quarter of its total income.

Chief Executive Helen Walker said she was extremely disappointed that the charity had failed to even get past the first stage of the funding process.. "This decision will hugely undermine the Government's vision for a Big Society," she added. "For the past decade we have made an important contribution to mobilising an army of 300,000 volunteers and to improving the quality of volunteering across the board. Without this vital core funding we will not be able to continue to deliver the level of service that we have based our reputation on and will have to considerably reduce our activities and staff as a result. We will be mounting an appeal against this decision and will be creating a petition to save the charity in due course."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "TimeBank was given six months notice, which is ample time to plan for the future."

Ah well so much for the Government putting its money where its mouth is…

No comments: