THE news regarding the proposed forthcoming Community Pool cuts to the voluntary sector and change of criteria has come as a devastating shock.
The reduction in the grant and the change in the criteria will affect many of the community groups in Hartlepool that work tirelessly to support people in need in our town.
Family poverty is said to be the biggest issue facing the town and an issue that almost all community groups address in one way or another.
If this is the case then surely the funding should be increased or, at the very least, maintained at the level that is set now without changing the criteria so that groups can continue to support family poverty.
Hartlepool People have been in receipt of the Community Pool grant since 1996 when the Community Development Team at Cleveland County Council was dissolved and Hartlepool became a unitary authority.
The Community Pool grant is tremendously important to us.
It is specifically for core funding, the hardest of all funding to secure.
It shows other funders that our own local authority values the work that we do in our community.
It can be used to match funding for other grants and, more notably, it gives confidence to our staff, volunteers and users of our service.
Hartlepool People achieve high outcomes and outputs for the funding we receive and provide outstanding value for money when you consider the services we provide against the money we receive.
Our service supports local and national groups and thousands of local people each year, many of them caught in the poverty trap.
We deliver childcare to families in need and support them in parenting and caring for their children.
We deliver quality training to local people, ongoing support to some of the most disadvantaged families in Hartlepool and provide volunteering opportunities that in a lot of cases is very often the first step people take on the road to recovery and employment.
Where would people in Hartlepool be without the services and support of the voluntary sector?
It is vital for the health and well-being of the town that it is supported.
The displacement of volunteers and unemployment that would be caused by the closure of voluntary organisations would be massive and yet another devastating blow for our town.
Hartlepool People Centre,