Grant cut could close London charities

Charities providing key services for children and young people in London are facing closure under plans to shake up a grant scheme, it has been claimed.

London Councils’ London Boroughs Grant Scheme provides funding for more than 400 organisations each year, 79 of which are connected to the children and young people’s sector.

However, it is feared that as part of a review of the scheme, which could see contributions from the 33 London boroughs reduced, the budget could plummet.

Out of the pot of £28.4m, currently £5.3m benefits children and young people.

But the total could be cut by as much as 61 per cent if London Councils decides that the money contributed by boroughs can be more effectively spent by the local authorities themselves.

Marie-Anne Diedhiou-Roy, children and young people’s organisational support officer at the London Voluntary Service Council, said the effect of such a change would be dramatic.

“It will affect organisations that will face the risk of closing down and will affect the children and young people experiencing disadvantage and make them even more vulnerable,” she said. “These groups are on the frontline of dealing with the poorest youngsters.”

Gillian Morris, chief executive at My Voice, a London-based mentoring charity helping young people who are not in education, employment or training, said her organisation is at real risk. “We are not financially viable without this (grant scheme funding). We will close.”

A consultation on the future of the grant is due to close on 10 November.