rory welcomes report on small local charities
Following his ongoing work on behalf of smaller local charities, and a campaign to simplify lengthy tendering and procurement processes, Rory has welcomed a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) which has highlighted the need for a more flexible approach to funding for small local charities. The report echoes the local MP’s strong lobbying efforts for small charities to be better supported, and comes after his comments in support of Cumbrian charities in last week’s Westminster Hall debate on Local Government Procurement.
The IPPR report highlights the importance of grants to Voluntary and Community Sector organisations’ capacity to function, but suggests that at the moment the complexity and time-consuming nature of the grant process is to the disadvantage of those small charities who would profit most from grant support. Rory argues that these are precisely the sorts of charities that are the lifeblood of the constituency’s voluntary sector, but whose future is endangered by challenging processes. The Government would like to see 25 per cent of contracts to go to small organisations, and the IPPR report suggests that a greater allocation of Big Society Capital should be invested into micro-finance products designed specifically for VCS organisations, if this target is to be achieved.
Other recommendations include standardising application forms, meaning less time and energy is invested into writing bespoke applications for multiple funders and an awareness-raising campaign to better educate small charities of the funding sources available to them. Currently many small organisations remain confused about what funding and finance is available to them and how they can access it. Big Society Capital’s directory of social investors is a very useful tool in this respect, but awareness of it remains limited in many VCSorganisations.
“This report helps reinforce the argument that many MPs have now raised about the need for a more intelligent approach to small charities funding. Particularly in rural Cumbrian communities, where access to public services is dramatically reduced, the work of small voluntary organisations has become a significant and essential proportion of the care and support available at a local level. If small charities continue to find themselves squeezed out by larger, more corporate bodies who lack the local knowledge and expertise to provide that same level of care, then many Cumbrian communities could be in real trouble. That is why it is so important to support the efforts of Cumbria CVS and Cumbria County Council in making tendering and procurement for small charities a much more simple and manageable process.”