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Funding blow to Norwich's young carers

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 07:55 02 July 2010

Peter Walsh

Voluntary groups caring for some of the most vulnerable young people in the city and across the county have lost their funding as social services cuts £1m from children's services.

Voluntary groups caring for some of the most vulnerable young people in the city and across the county have lost their funding as social services cuts £1m from children's services.

In December, 28 groups around the county, who currently receive £2.4m a year between them, were told they must re-tender for a share of £1.4m.

Norfolk County Councillors have agreed to cut the amount they spend on voluntary sector support because a freeze in both government grants and council tax is expected next year.

It has now emerged many groups have now been told their bids have been unsuccessful.

One Norwich group which has been dealt a blow following the funding freeze is the Norwich and District Carers' Forum, which helps more than 250 young carers, and is based in St John Maddermarket in Norwich.

David Todd, chief executive, said: “We're very, very disappointed and will be appealing the decision. They've given us the opportunity to request a debrief as to why the bid was rejected and we've requested that. There's such a lack of clarity that we're not sure what's going on.”

However Ali Hall, central services manager at Norwich-based Leeway, which provides help and support for women and children affected by domestic abuse, said they had been successful in the re-tendering process.

She said: “I think it's going to have an impact overall on children and young people but in terms of our specific service we've been successful through the re-tendering process. I don't know what the situation is across the county, but there obviously will be people that are disappointed and because of that there will be extra pressure on those that have been successful.”

Norfolk County Council said it could not provide details of which groups' funding would be cut because of “commercial sensitivities”.

Shelagh Hutson, cabinet member for children's services, said: “We currently buy in £14m of services from the voluntary sector and need to reduce this to £13m due to the tight budget we face in 2010/11, brought about by the dire national financial climate and the increased costs of protecting the county's most vulnerable children.”

She added: “Some organisations will not have been successful and some will have seen their funding levels reduced. We recognise that this will be a difficult time for these organisations, who like the private and public sector, will have to look at more efficient ways of working in these tough economic times.

“However, we need to ensure we are getting the best value for money for Norfolk's taxpayers and the best outcomes for Norfolk's children and young people.”

Are you part of a voluntary organisation which is facing a funding fight? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 7772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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