East Northants Council future proofs grants for the voluntary sector

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AT a recent meeting of East Northamptonshire Council’s policy and resources on, committee members voted for an ‘in principle extension’ to the support grants and service agreements the council provides to voluntary sector organisations past March 31, 2021.

As East Northamptonshire Council will cease to exist and be replaced by the new North Northamptonshire Council on 1 April 2021, councillors and officers were keen to do as much as possible to keep these grants in place, so vital support services to the district’s most vulnerable residents continue.

Introduced in 2011, the grants and agreements totalling £120,000 a year are awarded to a variety of partner organisations including SERVE, Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Service and Service Six, and offer a range of specialist services such as transport, support workers and counselling support across East Northamptonshire.

Leader of East Northamptonshire Council Steven North said: “This decision is a sign of how much we at ENC recognise the value of these grants and want to protect them for the foreseeable future.

“The services and organisations that these grants support are invaluable to our more vulnerable residents and we understand this.

“In recognition of this, we are pleased to put forward this recommendation to the shadow North Northamptonshire Council that the funding required for these grants should be included in the draft North Northamptonshire Council 2021/2022 budget.”

The current round of grants had been due to expire at the end of March 2020, but councillors had previously agreed to renew them until East Northamptonshire Council ceases to exist at the end of March 2021.

It is hoped this recent decision will future proof the grants into the new council, and mean that those who need specialist support can receive it.