New £50,000 children’s activities grant in Hartlepool ‘has to be the end’ for 'frustrating' scheme

A new £50,000 pay-out for children’s activities ‘has to be the end,’ say Hartlepool councillors.

Monday, 10th June 2019, 12:49 pm
Updated Monday, 10th June 2019, 13:24 pm
Hartlepool Civic Centre

Hartlepool Borough Council children’s services committee approved a new six-month 5-19 children’s activities grant providing up to £50,000 of funding.

Earlier this year the committee had moved not to extend the previous 5-19 children’s activities grant for another 12 months, which would have involved providing £100,000 to the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Consortium.

Councillors on the children’s services committee had expressed concerns the consortium had not secured additional external funding, despite reassurances.

Council bosses had several years ago moved to cease commissioning the grant and had twice given six-month extensions to the consortium to help fund activities for children.

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However a new alternative 5-19 grant system has been approved, allowing organisations previously part of the VCS to bid for funds, either individually or as a group.

The money provided by the council will be matched funding of up to £50,000, and those applying must meet the service specification for the grant, provide monthly performance information and provide a six month exit strategy by 30 June 2019.

Coun Brenda Harrison said: “We did find it very frustrating and it needs to be pointed out this particular group have had year-on-year funding from the council when the council is not able to fund other things.

“My personal gripe is that the money is better in the poverty fund reaching other children than it is with this, so I totally agree that this has to be the end, we have to draw a line in December, and that is it.”

The funding for the grant would come from the council’s Child and Family Poverty Reserve.

Sally Robinson, director of children’s and joint commissioning services, reiterated groups would not be allocated money if they could not produce an exit strategy and monthly performance information.

Coun Shane Moore said: “Here we are again. I would hope that if this gets through then we see December as being the end and we can put it to bed and just move on.

“It’s been an incredible frustrating over the past 2-3 years and I hope this is finally settled.”