Cllr David Mellen, Leader of the Council
Mr Melbourne Barrett, Chief Executive
Nottingham City Council
Re: Nottingham City Council Budget Cuts
Dear Council Colleagues
We are writing to ask you to reconsider the proposal to cut 100% of the grants that the city currently provides to the voluntary sector in Nottingham. This funding has already been cut dramatically over recent years, and it is essential that the full allocation remains in place.
The voluntary sector is relied upon more than ever to provide support to some of our most vulnerable citizens. Covid especially demonstrated that without the voluntary sector many more people would have suffered.
The sector’s support will be relied on even more with the proposed cuts to some of the city's front line services. Nottingham City Council recognises how the voluntary sector is a valued and necessary partner in developing and delivering solutions to our city’s challenges. We note that a number of Equality Impact Assessments of service cuts highlight the sector’s crucial role in supporting citizens if that service is decreased or withdrawn. How can the city council reconcile a greater reliance on the sector’s support against the proposal to remove grant funding?
We certainly understand the need to provide a fair and balanced response to all city residents but we feel there are some cuts which will disproportionately impact on those with less means, and lead to more residents facing difficult circumstances.
Cuts to the voluntary sector grant has a clear and direct impact on those in receipt of the grant. A small snapshot of evidence we have gathered indicates significant job losses: upwards of 50 vital activities will be closed, impacting on up to 500 volunteering opportunities, and as many as 20 organisations are at risk of closure.
However, the cuts will also be felt by organisations not in direct receipt of these grants as it will significantly increase competition for other scant resources. We know that many external funders are already oversubscribed in Nottingham.
The voluntary sector has long been a partner to the city council, and we know that the relationship is valued. We ask that you consider the wider impact of withdrawing funds from the sector. The city council grant allows organisations to leverage additional money from many other sources. This will be severely diminished, as organisations at risk of closure will be less attractive to external funding bodies. Once those organisations are gone so is the wealth of community intelligence and trust held within them.
We urge you to reconsider both the short-term and long-term impact of these budget decisions. Nottingham’s diverse voluntary and community sector is key to identifying creative and cost-effective solutions to address our city’s challenges.
Now is not the time to disinvest in a sector which the city council and its citizens have come to rely on. We need a different conversation about the sector’s role in reshaping services so that all of Nottingham’s people have a better outcome.
On behalf of Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service and the other organisations signing this letter.
Jane Todd, Chair of Trustees
Jules Sebelin, Chief Executive Officer