More demand for charities as funds squeezed

Kevin Bradley Director of St Wilfrids
Kevin Bradley Director of St Wilfrids
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CHARITIES and voluntary groups are fearing for the future due to Sheffield Council’s forthcoming £50 million budget cut.

Organisations say they will be forced to drum up more support in a bid to stay afloat, while services and activities look set to take a hit.

While managers understand the council’s need to make the savings, they are worried the demand for their help will increase as a result of the tough financial climate.

The circumstances could mean more people in Sheffield are unable to access support – from housing, to feeding their families – when they need it.

Sheffield youth housing charity Roundabout admits it was unable to ‘give as good a service’ after a 15 per cent cut in council funding last April and had to turn more youngsters away. It fears a further 22 per cent cut in 2013/14.

Ben Keegan, chief executive, of Roundabout, which runs Wesley House Hostel in Highfield, said: “We are still negotiating, but are going to be cut quite deep.

“For us, it is about increasing funding from elsewhere and cutting back in some areas.

“Our staff went on fewer training days and we also weren’t able to do as many of our activities with young people.

“Last year we had to ask the public for donations for the first time.

“We’ve had support from businesses, but it is going to get competitive.”

St Wilfrid’s Centre, which provides day services for homeless and vulnerable adults, is also feeling the squeeze

Kevin Bradley, St Wilfrid’s director, said: “The council funds 16 per cent of what it costs to run St Wilfrid’s and we are anticipating a reduction.

“At the same time we are seeing a rise in the number of people coming to us because of the economic climate – the council doesn’t run as many services as before.”

Sheffield Council said that while it made an £8.5 million reduction in funding for charities in 2011/12, Oxfordshire increased its funding for charities by £327,000 the same year.

But Sheffield Hallam MP and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s spokesman said that cuts to support for the voluntary sector as a ‘cynical political calculation by Labour’.

“Other councils are choosing to protect the voluntary sector from cuts,” he said.