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Groups get record grants from Blackbird Leys Parish council to prevent cuts
STRUGGLING groups across Blackbird Leys have received a lifeline of more than £22,000 from Blackbird Leys Parish Council, but councillors have warned this level of funding cannot continue.
The groups were facing cutting services without the grants from the council, organisers warned.
Last week the council decided to hand out £22,547 to nine different groups who applied for funding – the most the council has ever given at once.
The summer grants have eaten up 75 per cent of the parish council’s annual £30,000 budget.
Winter grants, issued in January, cost £6,280, leaving just £1,173 left in the budget until 2015.
Chairman Gordon Roper said: “I was worried that if someone comes up with an emergency then there’s no money for it.
“We were pleased to help the community, but we have to look at it very carefully.”
He warned if the number of groups applying for funding keeps rising the council will not be able to keep up: “I hope we don’t get the same level of applicants next year because we won’t have any money.
“We would have to choose the most beneficial and important groups and start turning others away.”
Every group that applied to the council received funding, although two did not receive all of the money they applied for.
One of those was Leys Community Development Initiative (CDI), which helps develop and co-ordinate local projects. It received half of the £2,000 it applied for to run its annual summer activities scheme for young people on the estate. The other was Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground, which got £1,429 – £600 less than it wanted.
CDI organiser Ines Kretzschmar, aid: “We’re very pleased that we got the money. It’s £1,000 less that we have to find.”
She blamed spending cuts for the increase in grant applicants, adding: “Organisations who received government or local authority funding don’t get that any more.
“Many more organisations are applying for more money, and the pot to pay for those services has shrunk.
“If the parish council stop giving out money then we’re going to have to find other options and then start cutting the services we deliver. It means that local people miss out.”
The Leys Festival received the biggest payout, with £6,000 to pay for the annual September fair in Blackbird Leys Park – covering half of the event’s costs.
Organiser Jane Gallagher said: “It’s really fantastic that the money will go towards every single person in the area.
“It’s definitely true that it’s harder to come by funding.
“I’m not surprised that more people are going to places like the parish council.”
The next round of Blackbird Leys Parish Council grants will be given in January and the deadline for applications is December 31. For more details email email@example.com
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