Merton backs local voluntary groups with funding of £9.9 million

Merton Council is supporting the borough’s voluntary sector with £9.9 million of funding to more than 150 local organisations, community groups, charities and projects in 2018/19.

Funding is highlighted in the Voluntary Sector Funding Database, which is published annually and outlines details of cash grants, commissioned services, notional funding and discretionary rate relief provided by the council.

Since last year there has been an increase of just over £220,000 in the amount of funding being provided to the voluntary sector. While this may only be a small increase in percentage terms, it comes at a time of continued reductions in the level of funding that local government and other public sector bodies receive from central government.

Merton Council continues to recognise the important part volunteering plays in meeting the needs of the community and contributing to positive outcomes for all the borough’s residents. Over the past five years the council has provided more than £60 million worth of funding to the voluntary sector.

Funding provided in 2018/19, helps to support and enable, amongst others, the running of the Polka and Attic Theatres, holiday and Saturday clubs for children with disabilities, supported living for people with learning disabilities, the Women’s Refuge, and advice and advocacy services. Over £500,000 has been allocated to assist non-profit making bodies with discretionary rate relief on the properties they occupy.

Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Equalities, Councillor Edith Macauley said: “Voluntary organisations and volunteers are the bedrock of our community. In Merton we have an active and flourishing voluntary sector and I am proud that the Council is sustaining funding to these organisations, in particular through our Strategic Partner programme, which we have maintained at the current level for the next three years. We are funding a large number of organisations that provide help and support across the entire life course – from birth through to aging well, and in particular improving outcomes for people with complex support needs. However, funding is going to get tighter over the next few years, and we will be working with the sector to explore ways to keep them sustainable as public money decreases.”

A total of £9,934,543 is being shared between 154 different voluntary groups across Merton during 2018/19.