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Charities named in Walsall grants bungle

14 Jan 10

Some of the charitable organisations and community groups promised funding by Walsall Council for schemes to support vulnerable people have been named. More than £357,000 of a £7million government Supporting People grant had been allocated in error by council finance officers resulting in the schemes being cancelled.

The Aaina Womens Centre in Bath Street, Caldmore is a registered charity and offers support to women, young children and the elderly. Dawn Hodges of the centre said: “We had applied for funding which was to create one-and-a-half new posts and go towards our project and we were about to start spending it when we got a call saying it has been an error. We rely on outside grants like this.”

Another registered charity, Walsall Black Sisters Collective in Wednesbury Road had been promised £50,000 before the council reversed the grant allocation. Community Director, Maureen Lewis said: “We were disappointed. It was to provide support for people in the community who are vulnerable. We have enough funding to last until March at the moment and we are in the process of looking for longer term funding.”

Other groups to suffer due to the council’s mistake are Autism West Midlands, Walsall Money Advice Project and Caldmore Rent Guarantee Scheme.

Three other groups, however, have been more fortunate. Because they had financial plans already in place before the miscalculation was discovered, their grant allocations totalling £183,000 will be honoured.

Supported Housing for deaf and blind people will receive £50,000. The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) will receive £34,27 0and Walsall Housing Group will receive two grants worth £99,576.

This latest financial fiasco comes as a further embarrassment to the council as it attempts to set a controversial budget that involves cuts to services and an increase in council tax rates.

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