Falkirk volunteer charity will face bill struggle

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A charity which finds work for volunteers to do may have to start charging for services to offset the effects of a 7.5 per cut in its core grant from Falkirk Council.

In the last five years, CVS Falkirk has helped increase the number of young volunteers ten fold.

It provides support for voluntary organisations in the district and matches potential volunteers with suitable charities.

But officials fear the 7.5 per cent funding cut in the £123,000 core support is going to make life difficult for the charity.

Money it receives from the social work budget is also to reduced

Chief executive Kenny Murphy said the cuts would be tough for the charity but he was optimistic that service would not be affected.

He added: “The cuts are disappointing but the third sector all over the country is experiencing similar cuts.

“This is the biggest reduction to our budget that I know of and we are just going to have to absorb it as best we can. We need to look at ways to generate income and one way will be to start charging for our training course. It’s not ideal but it is something we need to do.”

With unemployment at it highest level for a decade, CVS is finding more people coming through its doors than ever before looking for volunteering opportunities to enhance their CVs.

Mr Murphy continued: “In this time of recession, the third sector is relied on even more and we are expected to provide more but get less money to do it.

“We have established strong links with local schools to encourage volunteering which is why we have increased the number of young volunteers in recent years. This is great. If you get someone volunteering while they are young, the chances are they will continue volunteering.

“I started volunteering when I was at primary school and have been doing it ever since. I always say, I’ll only stop when I’m dead and in a box.”

The cuts to the CVS budget were discussed at a meeting of Falkirk Council’s leisure, tourism and community committee.

Councillor John McNally suggested some of the local authority’s £4.5 million underspend should be earmarked for CVS Falkirk. But committee convenor Councillor Adrian Mahoney said this would not be possible.

He added: “I don’t think anyone wants to see cuts, particularly not to a charitable organisation, but these cuts are across the board and have already been agreed at a budgeting meeting.

“We have even more cuts looming and council tax has been frozen for five years. We can’t go into reserves, spend every penny and then be left with nothing in the future.”