Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Over 500 voluntary organisations helped through the recession by £15 million Fund

Today 558 frontline charities and voluntary organisations across the country will receive grants worth up to £40,000 to help them provide vital community services during the recession.

The Targeted Support Fund, worth £15million in total, provides grants between £10,000 and £40,000 to the organisations helping those most at risk of increased deprivation due to the economic downturn. The fund helps them provide support to their communities through a range of recession focused services relating to information and guidance, health and wellbeing, and employment.

This is just one of the steps being taken by the Government to provide unprecedented help to charities and voluntary organisations. Following the Action Plan 'Real Help for Communities', published in February, over 1,600 organisations have already been offered £16.7m financial support through recession focused grants, loans and bursaries.

Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector, said:

"I am pleased to be able to announce that over 500 charities and voluntary organisations will today receive grants up to £40,000 to help them deliver vital support to hundreds of people in their communities facing difficulties during the economic downturn.

"In the last six months alone, we have offered help to over 1,600 frontline organisations worth a total of £16.7m, but the real help for those voluntary organisations facing serious challenges doesn't stop there. We will continue to offer unprecedented support to the sector through the major initiatives launched in the Action Plan 'Real Help for Communities'."

The Action Plan 'Real Help for Communities' included a targeted package of support to sustain voluntary organisations through the economic downturn and build on the Government's long-term commitment to the third sector, which includes voluntary organisations and social enterprises.

Other key progress from the Action Plan includes:

* 1,074 organisations have already received offers of grants worth £1,000 from the £16.5 million Modernisation Fund which was set up to help hundreds of frontline third sector organsiations become more resilient and efficient in the recession.

* Two Modernisation Fund loans worth £190,000 have also been offered to organisations providing services to communities that have been worst hit. A further 66 loans are already in negotiation.

* The £500,000 funding for School for Social Entrepreneurs is the catalyst for three new schools in Yorkshire, Hampshire and Devon. It will also enable existing schools in the North West and East Midlands to run additional programmes. The School provides action learning programmes to help social entrepreneurs tackle hardship and make positive changes to their communities. Available places will be doubled to 160 this year, with an ongoing legacy in the future.

* 40,000 opportunities for people to learn new skills and give back to communities through volunteering are currently being created via an £8 million Volunteer Brokerage Scheme for unemployed people.
* The National Campaign to raise awareness of the Government's commitment to pay invoices with 10 days has led to nine out of ten invoices are now being paid within ten days.

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