New grants for voluntary sector

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SMALL grants for community groups in Sheffield have been reinstated after a council U-turn.

Sheffield Council has reintroduced the money as part of new funding for the voluntary sector which also includes £2.5 million allocated to 50 organisations.

The £2.5m is being awarded to voluntary groups across the city for work on the council’s behalf over the next nine months.

And a small grants fund worth £50,000 is being reinstated less than three months after a previous fund worth £90,000 each year was axed due to budget cuts.

The council has made the change because it said it ‘recognised there was a gap in funding and some smaller groups and new projects did not have the opportunity to apply for a suitable grant’.

Steve Rich, Greenhill and Bradway Tenants’ and Residents’ Association secretary, said: “It will be helpful for groups like ours, but we wait and see what amounts groups like ours can bid for.”

Details of how bodies can apply for the small grants will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The £2.5 million of handouts are being made after a revamp of the council’s grant aid budget which has included a smaller cut of 5 per cent than the 10 per cent savings made to most council budgets. Officials say they now have a ‘clear focus’ on funding charities that support and work with some of Sheffield’s most vulnerable people and support volunteering.

Money is being allocated for projects which focus on community cohesion, tackling poverty, promoting social justice and financial inclusion, and ‘supporting the voluntary sector to thrive and deliver’.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for communities, said: “We wanted to do what we could in difficult financial times to support the voluntary and community sector who do so much valuable work in our communities.”