Monday, 2 February 2015

Graham Jones MP pushes for greater support for local charities after taking views of 50 local groups

Today I submitted a report to Lancashire County Council and the Minister for Civil Society at the Cabinet Office, following a consultation with around 50 representatives of local voluntary groups in Haslingden and Hyndburn on how central and local government can better support them.

I hosted the event at Accrington Library on the 23rd of January, after inviting a huge cross-section of local charities, ranging from the local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, to the local Rotary Club and local food banks. The aim of the event was to gather first hand experiences of how government could ensure that local voluntary organisations, which contribute so much to the local community in Haslingden and Hyndburn, can continue their valuable work.

The responses given at the event and in writing have been compiled into an outcomes document which has been submitted to LCC and the Cabinet this morning.

The key issues which came out of the event were the value that all present placed on Hyndburn and Ribble Valley CVS, the desire for greater resource and knowledge sharing, and the feeling that smaller local charities often miss out to larger national charities in terms of funding.

The voluntary sector is completely invaluable in Hyndburn, and is now needed more than ever. With the council facing huge cuts and our local NHS under pressure, it is absolutely vital that the groups in our area are able to continue with their excellent work, and perhaps equally as important, that we actually recognise how important their work is.

The meeting was a great success and was – I hope – genuinely productive for those present. I took some real lessons on the challenges facing local voluntary groups which forms the basis of a document which I have today submitted to LCC and the Cabinet Office. There were some responses which I expected, such as issues surrounding funding, resources and volunteers, however issues such as the ability of larger charities to access funding at the expense of smaller ones is something which needs wider thought.