Hertfordshire charity could permanently close due to funding cuts

Herts charity Pro-Action has had its Herfordshire County Council funding cut by £100,000. Picture: P

Herts charity Pro-Action has had its Herfordshire County Council funding cut by £100,000. Picture: Pexels. - Credit: Archant

A charity could close within weeks after its funding was slashed by £100,000.

Pro-Action provides behind-the-scenes support – including help with DBS checks, GDPR compliance and drafting constitutions – to more than 150 youth projects and charities across Hertfordshire.

Its work is designed to help many small organisations to remain compliant with the law and other legislation.

In some cases, it’s that support that gives volunteers the confidence to take on the legal liability of being a governor or trustee in their own organisations.

But, from this month, the funding Pro-Action receives from Herts County Council will drop from £150,000 a year to £50,000.

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As a result of the funding cut, the charity has warned it may have to close, with their services expected to stop as early as June.

County councillor Paul Zukowskyj appealed for the funding to be reinstated by the county council, but to no avail.

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He told councillors that while Pro-Action does not provide high profile youth activities itself, it is “the nuts and bolts behind the delivery of youth services on the ground”.

Cllr Zukowskyj said pulling the legs out from under that service would threaten the 150 organisations it supported.

The cut in funding to the charity is part of the county council’s £1.6million restructuring of youth services across the county.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, executive member for children, families and young people, said this has been one of the most difficult decisions they have had to make.

She said she has been working with Pro-Action to help find other funding and, should Pro-Action close, the council is committed to ensuring the organisations they served still have support with regard to safeguarding, DBS and other guidance.

Cllr Mark Watkin questioned where this help would come from and Cllr Ron Tindall suggested the current approach was likely to be the “most effective model at the cheapest price”, compared to 150 organisations seeking this help independently.

Ultimately the county council recognised an unintended consequence of the cuts to youth services could be to undermine the infrastructure support for voluntary youth clubs and youth organisations across the county.

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