Groups share £150k bonus

VOLUNTARY and community groups are celebrating after receiving a funding boost worth a total of £151,000.

Nine groups in Hartlepool are to receive grants between £6,000 and £24,000 towards the cost of salaries and utility bills including heating, lighting, telephone and electricity bills.

But many missed out because there was not enough money to go round.

Mayor Stuart Drummond, who approved the funding applications, said there was simply not enough money in Hartlepool Borough Council’s community pool to approve all the bids.

Senior officers received funding bids totalling £401,138, which meant it was over-subscribed for the amount available by around £250,000.

Mayor Drummond said: “We were very clear in the criteria and the successful applications put forward very strong bids.

“In some cases it was not a lot of money but to them it can make a real difference and keep them going.

“The pot was heavily oversubscribed and there was not enough money to meet everybody’s needs.”

He added: “With the cuts and changes currently taking place everybody has to step up to the plate.

“Some of them have to really have a close look at the bidding criteria but some are not meeting the standards.”

The full list of groups to receive funding is:

● Epilepsy Outlook, £9,163 towards the costs of the operations manager’s salary;

● Families First, £21,958.89 towards the cost of three salaries, two core workers and one project worker;

● Hartlepool Access Group, £23,949 towards the cost of five salaries including a manager, administrator and equipment worker;

● Hartlepool & District Hospice, £24,314 of funding towards the salary of a head of bereavement;

● Hartlepool PROP, £7,070 to help fund a manager’s post;

● Owton Fens Community Association, £22,760 to help fund project manager and development worker;

● Peoples Centre, £17,823 towards project manager’s salary and contribution to running costs;

● Salaam Centre, £18,432 towards heating, lighting, telephone costs and caretaker salary;

● Voluntary Wheels, £6,058 towards the co-ordinator/drivers’ salary.

Voluntary Wheels has been operating in Hartlepool and the surrounding area for 25 years providing low cost transport to the voluntary and community sector, plus elderly and disabled residents.

The not-for-profit scheme, which has four voluntary drivers, has a 14-seater minibus and averages about five bookings a week.

The grant of £6,058 will go towards funding co-ordinator Haydn Austin’s salary.

The 60-year-old dad-of-three, said: “I am over the moon that we have received this grant funding.

“Many people rely on Voluntary Wheels and I am delighted with the decision.”

The decision was taken by Mayor Stuart Drummond at a meeting of the Mayor’s portfolio.