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Council budget consultation – update from the VCSE sector.

The response to Bradford Council’s recently announced budget proposals is still ongoing.

In case you haven’t seen or you’d like a reminder, the current budget proposal would see over £1 million in funding cut from voluntary sector support over the next 3 years, starting with an immediate cancellation of VCSE support services. The funding, totalling £460,000 per year is used to ensure that charities, voluntary and community groups and social enterprises can continue to exist.

If the Council’s budget proposals go ahead, this would lead to an 83% cut in council funding for services that support the sector. This puts at risk:

  • Development Officers (help with funding, governance, business planning, safeguarding, marketing, other 1:1 support)
  • Information and news (Briefing Bradford, social media and website resources)
  • Training and events (including Big Advice Day, Volunteers Week, Trustee Week)
  • Volunteering support (recruitment, training)
  • Networks and collective voice (Leaders, EDI, Young Lives, Health and Care, Supporting Communities)
  • Activity to speak up for the sector and raise issues at strategic level
  • Allocation of Council small grants (e.g. for prevention and early help)
  • Brokering corporate support (including business volunteering, financial resource, pro bono support)

There are lots of other proposed cuts including to the Supporting Communities team, changes to adult social care with a focus on prevention and reduction in the use of adult social care, closure of three household waste recycling sites and cuts in funding to libraries and leisure services.

In our last update, we shared that representatives from across the VCSE sector have come together to work on a joined-up sector response; encourage people to use their individual, organisational and community voices to respond to the consultation; and to find out answers to many of the questions we all have.

Here 4 BDCC and Network Central have now, together, submitted an initial response which includes some questions and proposals for consideration and response by CBMDC. This is leading on to further conversations with decision makers to advocate for the sector, both in terms of infrastructure and continued support to VCSE and grassroots services. We have also held a number of consultation events where attendees had the chance to speak with Council colleagues about the budget proposals. Thank you to those that attended.

We will continue to have these conversations, and will provide further updates as we have them.

In the meantime, please see our consultation guide for details of how to submit your own consultation response. Where you are both, part of a VCSE organisation, and a resident of Bradford District, please do submit separate responses for each perspective. We encourage you to read the papers and think about what could be lost if the proposals go ahead before you respond.

Please see and share this video response from Kerrie-lee Barr, Development Director at VCS Alliance.

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