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Funding Bombshell For City Voluntary Groups

Coventry City Council's Economic Regeneration Policy Team today agreed a plan to cut funding for a over a dozen voluntary sector projects in the city.

The cuts of almost half a million pounds will certainly mean the closure of at least some of the 10 groups involved.

Cllr Nick Nolan, Coventry City CouncilThe decision to make the cuts came after a Members Review Group made up of Cllr Nick Nolan, Cllr Mrs Collins and Cllr Tony Skipper carried out a six month appraisal of City Development Directorate's funding to the voluntary sector. The review was prompted after a new Five Year Policies, Priorities and Resources (PPR) programme approved in February this year highlighted the need for large scale 'resource switching' to allow the Council to meets its targets under the Coventry Community Plan.

In particular the review concluded that City Development Directorate's support for the voluntary sector must be redirected toward time-limited contracts that focus on "achieving the tangible targets and outputs for jobs set out in the Coventry Community Plan".

Cllr Nick Nolan, Chair of the Economic Regeneration Policy Team, reaffirmed that the council's commitment to the voluntary sector will continue but stated:

"We have been supporting some of these projects for 16 years. They do good work in social welfare but now we want to focus on jobs."

The money saved from the funding cuts will be redirected to a number of initiatives:

  • COVWISE (as part of the New Deal)
  • Enterprise Link
  • Construction Employment Unit
  • Community Organisations Help Desk

To soften the blow the voluntary groups losing their funding will be invited, along with others, to bid for almost 250,000 pounds worth of contracts that will be designed to make an impact on the targets set out in the jobs section of the Coventry Community Plan.


Priority 1: Create more jobs for Coventry people

We will develop a wide range of jobs to meet the current and future needs of local people and businesses.

We will improve the skills of the City's labour force by:

  • Working towards a high level of educational achievement;
  • Advancing the skills of local people through training;
  • Expanding modern apprenticeships;
  • Ensuring the success of the Welfare to Work Programme.

We will tackle barriers to employment by:

  • Dealing with all types of discrimination;
  • Providing affordable childcare and other facilities;
  • Campaigning for unemployment data to include ethnic origin.

The organisations that face the funding axe are shell-shocked. They are finding it difficult to understand the rational of the decision. The jobs section of the Coventry Community Plan clearly mentions the need for training and the need to deal with discrimination. Many of the groups argue - as can be seen in the table below - that they offer training and tackle discrimination.


CITEE (Foot in the Door) Helps long term unemployed back into work or further training 20,000
(core funding)
Coventry Unemployed Workers Project (CUWP) Carries out research and produces publications and information. Works with trade unions and school leavers. Also involved in policy development and running courses 60,842
(core funding)
Disability Employment & Training Project  
(based at CUWP)
Provides advice and training and acts as a pathway to work for people with disabilities 23,000
(core funding)
Coventry Women's Business Development Agency Helps women with training, support and advice on business start-ups and development 57,035
(core funding)
Coventry Women's Business Development Agency - Training Provides training for women 15,000
Coventry & Warwickshire Co-operative Development Agency Provides business start-up advice and support, assistance for businesses 51,845
(core funding)
Coventry Job Change Aimed at older (35+) unemployed to improve their job prospects 49,411
(core funding)
Coventry Job Change Training Workshop Offers courses including woodwork and journalism 22,000
(core funding)
Women & Work Programme Provides education and training courses for women. Based at Coventry University 19,834
(to lever ESF funding)
Wood End & Henley Green Employment Development Project "First Stop" offering training and IT advice, job search and personal development skills. Special programmes for young unemployed. 63,000
(core funding)
Foleshill Women's Training (FWT) Provides training, development skills, confidence building and business start up for mainly Asian women 31,000
(core funding)
Nav Yug Asian Women's Project
(to be replaced by Asian Women's Employment Initiative run by FWT)
Provides training opportunities for Asian women 22,000
(core funding)
Osaba Womens Centre Provides training, childcare, routes to work for mainly Afro-Caribbean women 24,780
(core funding)
plus "core" grant funding from Social Services - 20,680
Osaba Training   9,400

The groups affected don't intend to take the decision lying down. They have already fired off a hand delivered letter to Richard Pareham of Peugeot.  He is chair of the Jobs Programme Development Group (PDG), the body charged with overseeing the Jobs section of the Coventry Community Plan. The Jobs PDG reports to the City Forum that oversees the implementation of the whole  Coventry Community Plan

Further action is expected from the groups under threat shortly.

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 22 Oct 98

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