Issue - meetings

Voluntary Grants Schemes Mandate

Meeting: 11/10/2021 - Resources Executive Advisory Board (Item 29)

29 Voluntary Grants Schemes pdf icon PDF 220 KB

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The Strategy and Communications Manager gave an introductory presentation in respect of the mandate relating to grants to voluntary organisations.  The mandate consisted of:


·             Introduction

·             Strategy

·             Strategic options to deliver a solution

·             Considerations

·             Resources

·             Risks, assumptions and issues

·             Dependencies, constraints and opportunities

·             Internal stakeholders

·             Appendix 1 – new service level agreements

·             Appendix 2 – previous review of grants

·             Appendix 3 – voluntary grants scheme 2021/22


By way of background, the Executive Advisory Board (EAB) was advised that following a review of grants in January 2020, the existing grants schemes had been discontinued in their previous forms and replaced by rolling agreements to provide greater certainty over future funding to organisations delivering against the Council’s strategic priorities (homelessness, mental health services, vulnerable families and services for the elderly).


At that time, the Executive also agreed to establish a new smaller Aspire Grants Scheme (£30,000 per annum) to support small scale local community projects and also to retain a reduced Voluntary Grants Scheme (£50,000 per annum) to provide some funding for other organisations delivering services for priority groups.  The establishment of a new crowdfunding platform for a two year trial period with an annual budget of £80,000 was also approved.


The original Voluntary Grants Scheme had been established as a tri-partite funding body along with Surrey County Council (SCC) and the NHS.  However, as both SCC and the NHS withdrew funding in recent years, the Borough Council remained as the only contributor. Whilst the scheme continued to provide support to organisations working with vulnerable residents, as a legacy of its former composition, grant funding did not necessarily closely support this Council’s priorities or core client groups and many grants were more health service focused.


With priority groups and services now being supported through funding agreements, the new crowdfunding platform being established to support voluntary and community organisations and the Council’s increased financial challenges, the mandate considered options for future grant funding.  The four options consisted of (a) do nothing, (b) discontinue the Voluntary Grants Scheme, (c) discontinue the Aspire Community Grants Scheme or (d) do most.  The Executive / Management Team Liaison Group had considered this mandate at its meeting held on 30 June 2021 and expressed support for Option (b).


The following points arose from related questions, comments and discussion:


1.           Councillor Fiona White addressed the EAB as a Trustee of CHIPS, an organisation which offered valued school holiday play provision to support vulnerable children and families in north Guildford and in Ash.  CHIPS met some of the Council’s strategic priorities and was in receipt of a voluntary grant of £5,000 in 2021/22 which formed an integral part of its funding.  Although it was difficult to calculate the return on the Council’s investment, it was felt that CHIPS provided valuable intervention work without which there may be greater need of Council services and expenditure in the future.  Accordingly, the EAB was invited to support CHIPS and other voluntary organisations by protecting their grant funding and seeking alternative savings elsewhere.

2.           The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29