Winchester groups set for cash boost from town forum

Romsey Advertiser: Winchester Theatre Royal is one of several Winchester organisations set to receive town forum grants Winchester Theatre Royal is one of several Winchester organisations set to receive town forum grants

WINCHESTER town forum has revealed its proposed grants for city organisations for the next financial year.

Councillors outlined funding for charities, community and arts groups at a meeting last Wednesday (Jan 23).

The largest grants of £20,000 will be given to the Theatre Royal and Citizens Advice Bureau Winchester & District while £11,100 has been earmarked for homeless charity Trinity Winchester.

Community centres and youth groups will also benefit with £4,000 granted to the Carroll Centre, £3,000 for King Alfred Youth Activity Centre, £3,000 for Winnall Rock School and £2,000 for Winchester Young Carers.

But the forum has withdrawn funding to other organisations including the Winchester Festival, Street Reach and Winchester Youth Counselling in accordance with a decision taken last year to focus on its key partners.

Assistant director for economic prosperity, Eloise Appleby, said: “Last year the town forum agreed to remove its contributions to what were considered not to be priority organisations.

“We did ask all organisations to comment on what affect that reduction in grants would be and I have to say that most of the responses have been fairly vague and it may result in a few less hours of provision. Any cut is a bad cut but I think these are not going to be serious cuts for them.”

The total funding withdrawn is £3,600 but a small grants fund of £5,000 has been set up to compensate.

Ms Appleby added: “It's really only going to be Street Reach and Winchester Festival that will be significantly affected by losing £1,000 each but the problems for them may be smaller than you think.”

But councillors also agreed to create a contingency fund of £2,000 in next year's budget for any group that significantly suffers due to the withdrawal.

Town forum chairman Cllr Brian Collin said: “I suggest we put a small amount aside which will grant us the ability to make up some of these grants. If they make a good case that they seriously underfunded by these cuts we will have a contingency.”

Town forum generally make up a percentage of full grants given by the city council overall.

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