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£30,000 Grant Money

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Monday 17 April 2006 10.13am

I veiwed this story out of curiousity - to see where Southwark's kind offer of grant money went.

Needless to say, these funds were put to some fantastic uses. But there were others that seemed to be a ridiculous (in my view) use of taxpayer funds.

If I want exercise classes or a day trip to the beach, I'd have to do it on my own quid.

I'm quite fed up with being taxed up to my back teeth. But it's particularly painful to see my tax burden increase year on year while our 'representatives' squander money in such a way. Although, I have to admit - I wouldn't mind a taxpayer funded jolly out to the seaside myself.

99's anybody?
Monday 17 April 2006 5.51pm
From a quick glance all of the causes getting grants seem very worthwhile to me. I'm not sure why you single out the exercise classes or health project / seaside trip particularly. Even if I didn't think any of the projects were worthwhile I'm sure I couldn't say the grants were being squandered from just its title - you would have to know what came out of it to know whether it was worth the (very small level of) funding.

deek wrote:
If I want exercise classes or a day trip to the beach, I'd have to do it on my own quid.

You could say the same of most of the other projects funded ("if I wanted toys for my toddlers' play group, I'd have to do it on my own quid").

The general burden of taxation in the UK is rising slightly but mostly because of the rather large amounts of cash being pumped into the NHS and not because of small grants being made to community groups.
Monday 17 April 2006 7.18pm
Neil wrote:
taxation in the UK is rising slightly but mostly because of the rather large amounts of cash being pumped into the NHS

And how much does it cost us each day while we're invading ... ooops I meant 'liberating' countries with oil ... next stop Iran. If my taxes went on bunion removal for old biddies I'd be happy, but bombing the bejeesus out of people who've done nothing wrong is not something I enjoy knowing I'm grafting for.

I know I've drifted off topic, however ...
Monday 17 April 2006 8.58pm
The real shame about this fund is that it was intended to be a community fund, where projects were put forward from the community, but when the decision was due to be made at Borough and Bankside Community Council, there was a lack of meetings for some time, then the meeting was suddenly held in Peckham. Not only this, but the details of the projects up for funding were not available to the public before the meeting as they should be with Community Council items, therefore residents were effectively excluded from the decision-making unless they trekked down to Peckham at short notice. It makes a mockery of the Community Councils that they can't effectively manage the admin in order that the public are included on the very item which was intended to include them!

I think Community Councils have such potential but they often fall down because of ineffective information, admin, or just sloppy management all round.
Monday 17 April 2006 9.35pm
Though diversity might be a good thing, there is a tremendous variation from Community Council to Community Council as to how equivalent decisions are reached and the level of public participation.

At Bermondsey CC the list of projects was circulated only once the decisions were being announced. The whole list of successful and unsuccessful applications was then read verbatim at excruciating length.

I understand that at Rotherhithe CC an indicative vote was taken among those attending the meeting, which the councillors could then take into account when allocating the cash.

I put in a request to the officer in charge of Borough & Bankside CC to get a copy of the list of projects to be funded, because having run a piece when the grant scheme was announced, I thought it was important to follow through and give people a flavour of where the money was actually going.

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Tuesday 18 April 2006 12.46am

Be careful how much time you spend at Community meetings - your sanity may be at stake.

I have a favourite anecdote about one Community group who were supposed to determine how some grant money was spent. Not so long ago. The Council officer told them about the proposal and asked for their confirmation. A couple of the group of local worthies who had given up their evening, questioned this proposals and asked why there were not more. They could certainly think of better uses for the money. The Council Officer was surprised. Yes there were lots of proposals to use the money, but back in the Town Hall they had decided that this was the best one. Now they wanted the community to confirm their decision.

TUMJ has a similar anecdote about being invited to be the Community representative at interviews for a community worker position. But there was only one candidate. We compared notes and discovered that others, including me, had been weeded out earlier.

Community, if it means anything at all, seems to mean whatever people want it to mean. I particularly hate the South London street-cred way of adding at least three glottal stops into the word, as if to emphasise its importance.
Tuesday 18 April 2006 9.55am
James, in my mind, runs one of the best community facilities in this area. He has made the wise decision to be independent of local authority or goverment funding and therefore targets, criteria and other influences. He has the choice and not the necessity to go to all these meetings. I think he's the most sane of the lot of us.
Tuesday 18 April 2006 11.46am
Your right Paul... Bombs versus contest!

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