Virtual council meeting allocates part of its Covid-19 response fund
Rackets Cubed provides community boxes to vulnerable young families in Putney & Roehampton
Local voluntary groups in Wandsworth have received £100,000 from the council as part of its Covid-19 response fund, which was discussed at the borough’s first virtual council this week (22 April).
More than 50 groups applied for the fund, ranging from a cancer support centre to befriending networks and Citizens Advice.
These organisations requested a total of £328,799, highlighting the demand for help.
However, only 26 groups received funding from the council, many of them only receiving part of the money requested.
Labour councillor, Graeme Henderson, praised the borough’s voluntary groups for “leaping into action” but said the total demand was more than three times the amount allocated, and asked for alternative ways to fund some of the projects that missed out.
He also called for the maximum amount to be spent, after there was initially £11,468 leftover after officer recommendations.
“In order to get money where it’s needed we should spend the full £100,000 now rather than trying to save for a rainy day. If we don’t spend it now, when is the rainy day going to come? It’s pouring, literally,” he said.
Louise Calland chairs Wandsworth Virtual Grants Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Chair of the committee, conservative Louise Calland, agreed, and split the remaining money equally between Home Community Cafe in Earlsfield which is providing meals for school children and the elderly, Waste Not Want Not, to help families facing food poverty, and Hestia Housing Support.
She said: “I have been amazingly proud to chair this meeting. I don’t know many councils who could have found this amount of money for an emergency fund at such short notice to be able to give to our voluntary sector. This is an incredibly difficult and trying time for so many people and many community groups.
“I have been overwhelmed to see the amount of people who have applied. I think it just goes to show the amount of community spirit that we have here in Wandsworth. While I am sure we could create lots more wishes for what we might like to do if we had more money, I am very proud that we have this much money to be able to give away and I am very happy to spend all of it.”
Waste Not Want increases capacity of its food delivery scheme
Many groups who missed out on funding have been directed to other London-wide or government grants, and will also be able to apply for the normal ongoing Wandsworth grant fund.
More than 2,400 businesses in Wandsworth have also received grants from the council as part of the Government’s Small Business Grants Scheme.
Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter
April 28, 2020