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Statement from the VCSE sector about the Council Budget Consultation.

On Wednesday 3rd January 2024, Bradford Council announced plans to cut their budget in a bid to avoid bankruptcy.

The plans will see over £1 million in funding cut from voluntary sector support over the next 3 years, starting with an immediate cancellation of all VCSE support services. The funding, totalling £460,000 per year is used to ensure that charities, voluntary and community groups, and social enterprises such as yourselves, can continue to exist in Bradford District and Craven.

Additional proposals include:

  • Cuts to voluntary sector infrastructure
  • Cuts 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 Ingleborough Children’s Outdoor Centre
  • Closure of three household waste recycling sites
  • Cuts in funding to libraries and leisure services
  • Increase in fees and charges across the council, including Council tax

The proposed cuts to voluntary sector infrastructure could potentially end all support to the sector including: support, advice and guidance to groups (via Development Officers); information and news (including Briefing Bradford); support to bring organisations together for collective action; work to bring income to the sector; support with recruiting volunteers; strategic involvement and Voice of the sector in key decision making; coordination of voluntary sector responses to priorities, emergencies and crises and more.

We know this will be very concerning and disappointing for many of you. We know there will be lots of questions, from what specific services could be lost, what will be left after the proposed cuts, what this might mean for your organisation. We do not have the answers to these questions, yet.

We would like to reassure you that we are working on it. A planning meeting has taken place between representatives from a number of organisations including: Community Action Bradford & District, Participate, VCS Alliance, HALE, CNet and REN. We were also joined by the Mental Health Provider Forum chair, Give Bradford, Equality Together, the Act as One board (Craven), and the VCSE Senior Responsible Officer of the West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board.

From this meeting, we came up with a list of actions, which involves a lot of fact finding and trying to answer some of those questions. We ask that you trust us to do this work and tell you when there is something to be told, we will include an update in this newsletter each week even if there is nothing new to say. We may need your support to mobilise a sector response in due course and we will come back to you for this.

We will also be running a number of meetings and events over the coming weeks, which will be an opportunity for you to join the conversation. These are:

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Network Meeting, Tuesday 16 January 2024 (2pm to 4pm) online.

Young Lives Network Meeting, Thursday 18 January 2024 (10am to 12pm) in person at Park Lane Centre.

Leaders Network Special – Council Budget Consultation, Tuesday 23 January 2024 (10am to 12pm) in person, central Bradford (venue to be confirmed).

Shipley area network – Capacity Building, Thursday 1 February 2024 (10am to 4pm), in person at Highcroft Youth Centre.

Bradford West area network – Capacity Building, Tuesday 6 February 2024 (10am to 4pm), in person at Manningham Mills.

Bradford South area network – Capacity Building, Wednesday 7 February 2024 (10am to 4pm), in person at TFD Youth Centre.

Keighley area network – Capacity Building, Thursday 8 February 2024 (10am to 4pm), in person at Central Hall.

These events will be used to determine how we can adapt resources to meet future need, continuing to support you to thrive, taking into account a potential change in resources.

It is extremely important that the voluntary sector comes together to have their say in these consultations so we can present a joined up and consistent response.

In the meantime, if you would like to be kept updated, you can keep an eye on Briefing Bradford, our social media channels and any relevant emails you may receive from us.

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

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