Funding blow for Norwich schemes

Ben KendallA vital scheme to steer young people at a Norwich school away from crime will be lost as part of County Hall cuts to voluntary services.Ben Kendall

A vital scheme to steer young people at a Norwich school away from crime will be lost as part of County Hall cuts to voluntary services.

Future, formally the NR5 Project, provides services to improve the community and reduce anti-social behaviour by providing support and activities for young people.

As part of its work it employs a worker at the Hewett School, who is responsible for engaging with pupils.

But it is among the charities hit by a �1.4m cut to Norfolk County Council's children's services voluntary sector budget.

This week County Hall bosses confirmed they would not be renewing their funding for the Future project.

Project manager Dawn Jackson said: 'This means we will have to withdraw our worker at the Hewett School. This will be a blow for children at the school who have formed a relationship with that worker.

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'The aim of our work at the school is to increase educational attainment and address anti-social behaviour. Basically we aim to keep them on the right path.

'We will continue that close relationship with the school and look for new opportunities to build on what we have achieved. But this will certainly make our work a lot harder.'

A total of 21 out of 29 groups which had hoped to renew existing funding with Norfolk County Council will miss out. A further 36 charities had applied for new funding but none succeeded.

The council has reduced its yearly children service's voluntary sector funding from �2.4m to �1m as part of a package of cuts as it faces a possible �115m financial black hole.

Among those which will miss out is the Norwich and District Carers Forum. It has lost �112,000 in funding, meaning that its schools outreach programme and support for 250 young carers across the county will come to an end.

The YMCA will lose �450,000 and although the charity yesterday remained hopeful that new backers could be found, Mr Sweeting said the decision would leave a void in the services it provides.

David Todd, chief executive of the Norwich and District Carers Forum, criticised the tendering process. He said: 'We will search for new funding but our prospects are dubious as, while charitable trusts are happy to provide some of the funding, they are often reluctant to provide support for organisations which do not have local authority funding in place.'

Shelagh Hutson, the council's member for children's services, said: 'Instead of simply renewing the contracts that were coming to an end we ran an open tender process to make sure that the services we buy-in deliver the best possible outcomes for children and young people in the most efficient and effective ways.'

Has your organisation been dealt a recent funding blow? Call Evening News reporter Ben Kendall on 01603 772423 or