The council has recognised that during the pandemic Waverley’s local community organisations have been going through a torrid time.
Cllr Michaela Martin told Waverley’s Executive that the COVID-19 pandemic had proved a challenging time for everyone. She recommended that the current 3 year Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) for twelve community organisations should remain the same, but only for one year. This would give all the organisations some certainty for budgeting, staffing and services, until such time as they are able to look again at their business plans and strategies to determine how they would deliver services in the future.
Deputy leader Cllr Paul Follows was pleased to see that certain grants had been reinstated. Two had now been more fairly proportioned – in particular to The Hazelway, in Haslemere and The Clockhouse in Milford.
“It is all about fairness, and recognising the work that is being done by these two organisations.” he said.
Haslewey, Haslemere – An Exemplar Model.
The Haslemere centre had been funded for 2 ½ years towards services for older, lonely and isolated people only. Haslewey had continued to develop its services and provide an exemplar model of delivery. It had worked positively with the Council and is always willing to adapt and try new things. It was felt that this approach should be recognised and increased funding would bring Haslewey up to similar levels of the other day/community centres. The funding would contribute towards the development of services as well as contributing towards overheads.
Brightwells Gostrey, Farnham – It was proposed that the ‘higher needs grant’ be withdrawn. As staff delivering the higher needs service had been made redundant and the service had ceased operating.
However, the centre continued to deliver the Community Meals Service but had ceased providing all other day centre services. Its board was taking this opportunity to review and refresh all services and the future shape of the organisation. The proposed funding would continue to contribute towards running costs, anticipating that new services/activities will have been shaped by April (restrictions permitting), and possibly elements of the Community Meals Service delivery for 2021/22 only.
The former Tory administration spent £3.2 million on the Gostrey Centre extension to the Memorial Hall – a project which originally was to have been built by Crest at the Brightwells development in East Street at their expense!
How did Waverley Conservatives manage to shrink the Brightwells dividend so much?
Cllr Follows said whilst it was recognised there was a need to look at the ways future grants were paid, to change them during the present pandemic when organisations were working under such difficult circumstances, would be a deeply troubling thing to do.
Cllr Martin said the funding would be paid according to the individual SLA agreements, either for the full year, quarterly or half-yearly. This would support the individual organisations’ budget forecasts and cash-flow.
Officers would then work with organisations so that if they were unable to deliver against their SLA, they could adapt their services in such a way as to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, particularly in relation to mental health, loneliness and social isolation as part of their local community response.
Looking to the future.
In 2021 – post-COVID, the relevant Portfolio Holders would work with Officers and the Community Wellbeing Overview & Scrutiny Committee to develop appropriate proposals for longer-term funding based on community needs.
The Head of Housing and Communities wrote to all 12 organisations in November 2020 advising them that the Council is going through a period of change and facing significant financial challenges, highlighting that the Council needed to find an additional £8 million over the next 4 years. The letter explained that this will have an impact on any commissioning process and funding decisions in the future. The SLA budget is a discretionary fund and, along with its other budgets, the Council will need to review its future financial support to community organisations.
This Annex provides details on all the grants provided by Waverley Borough Council in Waverley and in Guildford.
Annexe 1 – SLA proposals 2021-22
The Executive RESOLVED to:
- i)approve the renewal of the current SLAs with the 12 partner organisations for one year only, 2021/22 at the proposed levels of funding as shown in Annexe 1 and as part of the budget setting process.
- ii)approve the withdrawal of funding to Brightwells Gostrey for the higher needs service and divert these funds to Haslewey to support services for older people and contribute towards running cost as shown in Annexe 1.
Agree on the establishment of an Executive Working Group to review the councils funding mechanism to voluntary sector organisation from 1 April 2022.
Organisations WBC funds through Service Level Agreements
Three-year SLAs, 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2021
||Funding per year
|Citizens Advice Waverley
|Waverley Hoppa Community Transport
|Farnham Maltings Outreach
|Haslewey Community Centre
|Farncombe Day Centre
|Cranleigh Arts Centre
|Brightwells Gostrey Centre
|Rowleys Centre for the Community
|Voluntary Action South West Surrey
|Age UK Surrey