Government brings real help for North West charities
29 April 2009
Charities and voluntary groups from across the North West came together in Bolton this week to discuss what more they can do to help local communities through the economic downturn.
The event was hosted by the Cabinet Office, which is providing over £40m to help small and medium sized charities delivering support to people affected by the recession, plus a further £16m new money announced in the Budget.
Among the charities attending was Highway to Opportunities, a local employment charity who provide information, advice and guidance services for adults living and working in Oldham. They specifically offer support for adults who are unemployed or at risk of being unemployed. Highway to Opportunities has seen a 30% increase in the number of people signing up to their service since the beginning of the year.
Minister for the Third Sector, Kevin Brennan said,
“I would like to pay tribute to Highway to Opportunity and the many other charities and volunteers across the North West, who are working heroically to help their communities through tough economic times.
Over the past twelve years, we have created an environment to enable the third sector to not only thrive, but to be in the strongest possible position to face the current economic crisis. It is our mission to ensure that real help is available now to those organisations that help people who most need their support.”
The event was attended by Mark Cunningham, Principle Manager for Services at the Manchester Jewish Federation. Mark described the event as incredibly useful, timely and appropriate to his organisation. The Manchester Jewish Federation are now at the stage of their development when the support offered in Real Help will allow them to move forward to their long term vision of improving the lives of Jewish people living in Greater Manchester.
Notes to editors
The Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office is committed to supporting the third sector, over the last decade government spending in the charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises has doubled to £11 billion. Great Britain's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises have never been stronger and the new money announced in the budget this week together with government's action plan, launched this February, should strengthen them further.
Budget 2009 – the third sector
Building on February's Action Plan today's Budget announced:
- A new Hardship Fund for the sector, worth over £16m. This new will be targeted at third sector organisations providing front line services facing real hardship as a result of the recession.
- OTS will consult by the summer on the design and functions of the Social Investment Wholesale Bank. OTS will report back with substantive proposal. This takes us one step closer to making the Social Investment Wholesale Bank a reality and getting more investment into the sector.
- A £1.2bn package for all young people aged 18-24 who have been claiming Jobseekers Allowance for a year. It will provide a guaranteed offer of 6 months of meaningful activity - a job, a work placement or work-related skills training. As part of this, Government will:
- provide funding for third sector partners and Local Authorities to take forward the creation of 100,000 new jobs in socially useful activity. It is expected that 10% will be green jobs.
- offer Community Work placements, providing an opportunity for third-sector providers and Local Authorities to create a further 50,000 new jobs in areas of dense unemployment.
- The Government announces Care First, offering 50,000 traineeships for young people in the care sector, including third-sector employers [approx. 20% of providers].
- Government has considered its response to the consultation on the anti-avoidance rules around substantial donors to charity. Budget announces further informal consultation with the sector to develop new rules based around an effective anti-avoidance purpose test. The Government aims to bring forward proposals at the 2009 Pre-Budget Report, with a view to legislating in 2010.
- Government recognises the importance of Common Investment Funds and Common Deposit Funds to the charitable sector. The Government will consult shortly in conjunction with the Charity Commission on ways to bring these funds more fully under the FSA’s regulation whilst preserving their existing tax reliefs.
- Government has commissioned research into the effect of redirecting higher-rate Gift Aid relief from donors to charities.
- The Government is committing an extra £18.75 million to the Growth Fund, which enables third sector lenders such as credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions to make affordable loans
- £70 million of funding to support small-scale renewable technologies and community heating schemes. This could represent opportunities for community groups and third sector organisations.
- The government is also committing an additional £125 million in 2009-10 and £145 million in 2010-11 to Social Fund loans. DWP is currently consulting about potentially contracting with the third sector to deliver this fund.
- A measure will be introduced to enable the removal of tax barriers to transfers of business between mutual societies with effect to transfers on or after 22 April 2009.
Action Plan ‘Real help for communities: Volunteers, Charities and Social Enterprises’
The range of activities in the programme will both enable the third sector to deliver real help in effective and efficient ways and support the sector in Yorkshire and the Humber.
It delivers a range of initiatives:
- A volunteer brokerage scheme for unemployed people with create over 40,000 opportunities for people to learn new skills and give back to communities through volunteering.
- A £15.5 million Targeted Support Fund will provide grant funding to small and medium providers in communities most at risk of increased deprivation due to the recession. This is in addition to the £130 million already committed to the Grassroots Grants programme meaning more small grants to more community groups.
- A £16.5 million Modernisation fund to help with the cost of mergers, partnerships and moves to more efficient sharing of back office functions for at least 3000 third sector organisations.
- A £0.5 million investment in the School for Social Entrepreneurs to double the number of people it trains to become social entrepreneurs, particularly those working in deprived communities.
- A national campaign to raise awareness of the Government’s commitment to pay all invoices within 10 days, which will improve cash flow for small organisations
For organisations that were unable to attend this week’s event more information is available after together with details on Real Help For communities and can be accessed at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector
Dates of regional roadshows
- North East: Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle United Football Club, Monday 20th April
- Yorks & The Humber: Bradford, Cedar Court, Tuesday 21st April
- West Midlands: Birmingham, Maple House, Monday 27th April
- North West: Bolton, Bolton Holiday Inn, Tuesday 28th April
- London: Central London, Abbey Community Centre, Thursday 7th May
- South West: Bristol, Ramada, Bristol, Monday 11th May
- East of England: Cambridge, Abington Hall, Monday 8th June
- East Midlands: Leicester, Peepul Centre, Tuesday 9th June
- South East: Epsom, Epsom Racecourse, Weds 24th June
Cabinet Office Press Office
- Real help for communities: Volunteers, Charities and Social Enterprises
London SW1A 2WH
Tel: 020 7276 0317 – Fax: 020 7276 0618
Out of hours telephone 07699 113300 and ask for pager number 721338