£160,000 for Uttlesford Citizens Advice among voluntary support


Biodiversity and local environment will be the main themes discussed at an Uttlesford District Council meeting - Credit: Uttlesford District Council

Uttlesford District Council has pledged support of over £385,000 for voluntary sector organisations, including £160,000 for Uttlesford Citizens Advice.

Contributions have been awarded to 16 organisations.

They are the Council for Voluntary Service (£51,000), Uttlesford Community Travel (£48,300), St Clare West Essex Hospice Care Trust (£5,000), Community 360 Training (£6,000).

Home-Start Essex (£10,500), Volunteer Uttlesford (£18,000), Support 4 Sight (£10,000), Action For Family Carers (£15,000).

Hearing Help Essex (£3,500), Citizens Advice East Herts (£11,500), Accuro Care Services (£20,000), Uttlesford Buffy Bus Association (£5,000).

Carers First (£7,400), Dig It Community Allotment (£6,000), Saffron Hall Trust (£9,000).

The grant to Uttlesford Citizens Advice was taken at Cabinet level as it exceeded £100,000.

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The application stated the grant, the same as last year's figure, will cover all staffing costs for the core service.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Uttlesford Citizens Advice experienced a marked difference in enquiries received. While benefits remained top for advice sought, debt and housing issues were temporarily replaced as major topics by employment advice and emergency response work. 

In the grant application, CEO Kate Robson said they are currently piloting a project with Mind in west Essex.

They are also working with Essex library service and UDC in Great Dunmow and Stansted and plan to open two individual glass meeting spaces and provide 'live' remote access to Citizens Advice and hopefully Uttlesford District Council services via a video call. 

Councillors at UDC's cabinet meeting unanimously approved the grant.

Cllr Colin Day, portfolio holder for communities, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on these organisations, including on opportunities for fundraising and the additional expenditure that has been required to adapt and take on more responsibility in helping those who are most vulnerable.

“However, they continue to make a real difference in our communities, and we are therefore pleased to be able to provide this financial support to aid their work.”

The voluntary sector allocations are in addition to the various grants schemes distributed by the council, including Community Project, Leisure and Cultural, and Sports Projects. Over £55,000 has also been awarded through the Youth Initiatives Grant scheme this year.

In total, the council will award over £600,000 this year in grant aid, including £78,000 which is made available via the Members Ward Grant scheme.

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