Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Charities ask council for more cash to offset cost rises

Charities ask council for bigger grants to offset rising costs

CHARITIES and community groups in Henley have asked the town council for bigger grants.

They say the rise in the cost of living and the increasing number of people using their services has put extra pressure on them.

Youth and community project Nomad, which is based at the d:two centre in Market Place, supports young people and their families through outreach programmes.

Last year it made almost 5,000 interventions involving people affected by issues ranging from substance abuse to self-harm.

The charity also runs the Henley food bank and last year delivered 503 bags of food to 264 adults and 157 children. It also provided 34 food parcels for homeless people and 117 Christmas parcels.

It currently receives £10,000 from the council.

Youth and family team manager Tim Prior told a meeting of the council’s finance committee that the money was badly needed.

He said: “People are surprised we have a food bank in Henley. We are just really asking you to continue to support the work that Nomad does.

“We believe the support work we do makes a difference to the lives of many young people in our town.

“A lot of my time is spent trying to get funding. Sometimes we get overwhelmed with the work and we really believe that investing in young people is worth it.”

Councillor Kellie Hinton said: “You are a lifeline to so many people.”

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak added: “You provide a fantastic service for families and young people in Henley.”

The Henley 60+ Social Club, which currently receives £10,000 a year to help cover running costs, wants an increase in line with inflation.

The club, which is based in Greys Road car park, has more than 100 members for whom it provides lunches on three days a week.

Treasurer Sue Bishop said: “As a club we are very reliant on the town council grant to support us with our running costs. Utilities, food and water bills have all gone up. Standard insurance has also gone up. Our costs are going up every year.

“The council provides us with the building rent-free but we do pay all our other costs. We also try to give our staff something like a two per cent pay increase annually.

“For a lot of people our service perhaps provides the only hot meal they get during the week. It’s particulary good for people who have recently been bereaved. It’s somewhere for them to come and have someone to talk to. It’s crucial for that segment of the community.”

Former mayor Gill Dodds, who chairs the club’s trustees, said: “The club is hugely important to the elderly of the town. The worst thing is to be lonely at home.”

“We would like to keep our lunches affordable to the members. There’s a limit to how much cost we can pass on to the members. Any increase in our grant will be very welcome. We try to raise money in other ways rather than putting it on to the membership.”

Be Free Young Carers, which helps support young carers and their families across South Oxfordshire, asked for an additional £500 to £1,000 on top of the £1,000 a year it currently receives.

The charity helps about 10 young carers in Henley, providing free social activities, training and trips.

Director John Tabor said: “Two out of three young carers are showing signs of a mental illness. Quite a lot now are looking after more than one person in the family. That worry translates into anxiety and stress. Taking them on trips helps to relieve and reduce that stress. It shows them that they are not alone. We are really grateful for the town council’s support.”

Cllr Hinton said: “What you are doing is so important. Thank you so much.”

The Henley Music School wants more money so it can provide GCSE and A-level music tuition and hire another teacher. It currently receives £3,000 a year from the council.

More than 500 children and 60 adults have used the service, which provides musical education regardless of background or means.

Founder Laura Reineke said: “I do it by myself. It’s just me, which is becoming more and more like hard work. I am also looking for premises.”

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