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£18,000 fund for Community Groups in Lancaster and Morecambe cut by Tory-run County Council

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County Councillor Erica Lewis
County Councillor Erica Lewis
Author: 
John Freeman

Lancashire County Council has now stopped funding directly to community groups in Lancashire through the Local Members Grant, including groups in Lancaster and Morecambe, to the dismay of opposition groups.

Every Lancashire County Councillor, regardless of their political affiliation, had £3,000 to give to community organisations in their own areas annually, including groups such as neighbourhood groups and projects, food banks, festivals and many other activities. This amounts to £18,000 in the Lancaster district.

During the last financial year, county councillors across Lancashire gave approval to almost 500 grants.

Most grants are one-offs and low value, typically £250 - 500 per award. Grants were not used for core funding, they were for specific projects, special occasions and equipment.

According to the papers presented to the Tory-led County Council Cabinet, the impact on any groups will be limited to specific events or purchases, and the absence of such a grant is unlikely to have a significant impact on the long-term work or objectives of any groups as alternative funding is available.

However, Councillor Erica Lewis, Labour councillor for Lancaster South East, said, “I've been part of the management committee of small community organisations and I know that funds directed at the local community, without overly complicated application and reporting requirements are vital to undertaking small but important projects in the local community."

“This is typical of the Conservatives, cutting thousands of pounds of funding from local voluntary groups who are often doing vital work to build community and provide support to their neighbours. They claim that alternative grants are available but as we all know they have already been cut, and local groups often can't compete against much larger charities.”

“In the grand scheme of things £18,000 is not a lot of money but £100 - 250 does make a difference when you're putting on a local festival, maintaining local green spaces, or providing short trips and friendship groups for vulnerable people.”

"Once again the Conservative's target cuts in ways that will have knock-on effects on our community. Keeping local green space safe and inviting saves on health costs, running arts and science festivals helps children retain learning over the school holidays."

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