H&F community groups respond to council funding cuts
Jul 22 2010 By Greg Burns
IT WAS a mixture of good news and bad news for voluntary groups across Hammersmith & Fulham this week after council cash was handed out.
The council has the seventh highest budget for its voluntary sector in London and has vowed to protect public services by selling off buildings to make the bulk of saving.
But these cutbacks have left many voluntary groups fearing for their futures in the community they have served for many years.
GREG BURNS takes a closer look at some of the groups who have benefited and some who have missed out this week.
Grove Neighbourhood Centre, Bradmore Park Road, Hammersmith.
Set in the heart of Hammersmith, the GNC is used by baby and toddler groups and is also used for fitness classes, parties and with a weekly a drop-in support service.
Their bid for £81,200 was turned down leaving members worried about its long-term future.
Marian Reid-Owens, of the centre, said: "We are devastated. The centre makes a major difference to people locally and we are stunned that this decision has been taken. We are going to have to cut back in so many ways now that things will never be the same again."
H&F Refugee Forum, Lillie Road, Fulham.
Established in 2000, the HRF represents, supports and offers advice to members of up to 30 refugee communities in the borough.
The group saw their bid for £66,990 rejected by the council who said there were other groups in the area who could provide a similar service including H&F Black Minority Ethnic Network.
Mahdi Aadan, of HRF, said: "We are not happy with the decision that has been made and feel it is sending the wrong signal to our refugee community. We have worked hard for a decade serving this borough and the money we were asking for is not a lot in the scheme of things. A lot of people rely on us to help them and without this money we will struggle."
Irish Support and Advice Service (ISAS), Blacks Road, Hammersmith.
With a large Irish community in the borough, ISAS provides advice, support and excursions for pensioners.
The service recently celebrated its 40th anniversary and had reason to toast again after being successful in applying for £38,000 in council cash.
Mike McGing, ISAS director, said: "We can now provide an outreach service to the most vulnerable elderly Irish, addressing the needs around health and isolation."
H&F Credit Union, North End Road, Fulham.
Since launching in 2008, the borough's first not-for-profit bank has grown to have 1,200 members and issued more than £320,000 in loans.
Open to anyone in the borough, the Union pledges to provide affordable loans and saving schemes and they were rewarded with a council grant of £31,500.
Cheryl Gale, Credit Union manager, said: "We are absolutely thrilled that the council has awarded us such a large grant. The council has always provided us with magnificent support and it is that assistance that consolidates us in the borough."
Shepherd's Bush Families Project, Bulwer Road.
SINGLE parents and women fleeing violent relationships are just some of the people who benefit from the support and advice offered by the Shepherd's Bush Families Project.
It recently became a children's centre and offered after-school and summer holiday childcare provisions.
But its £135,679 grant application was turned down by the council, citing similar facilities nearby, leaving Nigel Troughton, project trustee, in shock.
He aid: "It has come as a huge shock to us as we help many people who are living in difficult circumstances. Our demand already far outweighs our supply and the damage done by this decision could be irreparable. All the people who come to us for help are trying to get a better life for themselves and escape their conditions. Sadly many will now not be able to."
Fulham Good Neighbour Service, Rosaline Road, Fulham.
Set-up in 1966, the service helps frail and elderly residents with tasks around the house or garden and also work with people with mental illness, disabilities and terminal illnesses.
The group have been rewarded for their dedication with a £38,000 council grant.
Sue O'Neil, chairman of trustees, said: "We are delighted with this excellent news. The council has been giving us grant aid for 30 years and we are overjoyed that they are continuing to fund us and help us carry on serving the community in Fulham."
GROUPS WHO GOT FUNDING:
CASH; H&F Volunteer Centre; HAFAD; Urban Partnership Group; Banooda Aid Foundation; Barnados SEOne Service; Catholic's Children's Society; Challenge Network; Doorstep Library Project; Family Action; H&F MENCAP; H&F Urban Studies; QPR in the Community Trust; Sands End Associated Projects In Action; Standing Together Against Domestic Violence; The Brunswick Club; West London Action for Children; FLAC; H&F Citizens Advice Bureau; H&F Credit Union; St Paul's Centre; Tendis Ltd; Third Age Foundation; Age Concern H&F; Alzheimer's Society; Asian Health Agency; House; Fulham Good Neighbours; Irish Support & Advice Service; Nubian Life Resource Centre;
GROUPS WHO DID NOT GET FUNDING:
Bishop Creighton House; CITAS; Firsthand Ltd; Grove Neighbourhood Centre; H&F BME Network; H&F Refugee Forum; Harmony Community Day Nursery; Minaret Community Centre; Play Association H&F; Pre-School Learning Alliance; Tendis Ltd; Townmead Youth Club; Active Planet; Afghan Council UK; Albert & Friends Instant Circus; Breakway Holiday Project; Community Advocacy Services; Goldseal Project; HAFAD; Hammersmith Gardens Community Association; Horn of Africa; Notting Hill Housing Trust; Outside Chance; Shepherd's Bush Families Project; Sir John Lillie Play Centre; Vince Hines Foundation; Vital Regeneration; Breakthrough Deaf & Hearing Intergration; Eastern European Advice Centre; FLAC; H&F Citizens Advice Bureau; H&F Law Centre; Iranian Association; Bosnia & Herzegovina Community Advice; H&F Community Transport Project; Rampage.
How are you affected by this funding decision. Email email@example.com with your story.