Voluntary organisations in Fife which had fears over funding have been given a short reprieve but longer-term concerns remain.
Fife’s education and children’s services department agreed a £2.4 million package of grant funding to be spread among more than 40 different projects before the 2019/20 financial year.
However, with Fife Council committed to clawing back £410,000 in the third sector, only six months of guaranteed funding was put in place, which prompted concerns about the ability of groups to properly plan.
A number of organisations have been assured of an additional six-month funding extension until April 2020 to give them breathing space but reservations about sustainability remain.
Morag Coleman, manager at Families First in St Andrews, said she had concern for the future of children’s services both in Fife and nationwide, pointing out many have uncertain futures and face possible closure.
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“In partnership with Fife Council I am currently working with them to try and find solutions to this problem at a local level,” she explained.
“I would also welcome the prospect of working with others to look at the national crisis facing third sector organisations around funding and long term sustainability.
“Presently we can no longer make any more cuts without it impacting on service delivery and quality of service.”
Liberal Democrat MSP for North East Fife Willie Rennie said local authorities must be in a position to deliver services the region’s residents desperately need.
“I’m glad that Fife Council is extending Families First’s funding until the end of the financial year, but they are by no means out of the woods yet.
“The resilience of Fife’s children’s services appears to be at an all-time low, but this issue is much bigger than this. These organisations provide vital support to children and young people.
“Cuts to local authority budgets are a national problem which are already affecting some of the most vulnerable residents of our communities.”
Dougie Dunlop, head of children and families and criminal justice, said a review was being carried out, with the initial six month funding designed to put organisations on a “sustainable longer-term footing within the resources available”.
He added: “The review is scheduled to provide an initial report by August this year and a full report by October.
“On this basis it has now been agreed that funding in quarters three and four will continue at the same levels as those awards made for the first six months of 2019/20.
“Awards for 2020/21 will be reflective of the outcome of the review.”