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Age UK Tunbridge Wells warns of changes facing many of Kent's charities

Charities and other voluntary organisation face an uncertain few months due to changes in the way they are funded.

From April 1 2020, Kent County Council will stop providing annual grants to charities including local Age UK organisations and switch to a rolling contract.

Organisations supporting older people look set to be affected.

Young carer giving helping hands for the elderly woman. (7312777)
Young carer giving helping hands for the elderly woman. (7312777)

Sandra Springett, chief executive of Age UK Tunbridge Wells said: "We get a grant worth £214,000 from Kent County Council every year, but our annual turnover is £900,000.

"We're quite reliant on that grant, it gets us started for the year and lets us plan ahead.

"We don't know if the amount we receive will change, which will affect how we plan all of our services for older people.

Sandra Springett, chief executive of Age UK Tunbridge Wells (7300197)
Sandra Springett, chief executive of Age UK Tunbridge Wells (7300197)

"A lot of people think we get funding from Age UK nationally but we're entirely separate, we have to raise our own money.

"This change is going to affect Age UK organisations across the county, as well as other charities."

Kent County Council is making the change to update some of the contracts it has held for long periods of time.

An elderly man at Rowheath House retirement home in Birmingham.. (7300257)
An elderly man at Rowheath House retirement home in Birmingham.. (7300257)

The council does not expect to carry out assessments for all of the new contracts, meaning overall funding may not change.

Graham Gibbens, cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: "

"The historic nature of these grants means there is an inequity of funding and service provision across the county. KCC policy is clear all grant and contracting arrangements should be awarded through an open application process; these grants, however, are not compliant with that policy.

“The council has been working to design a range of community-based services for the future which will be funded through new arrangements over a longer period of between five and six years. Services will be focused on enabling people to remain well and independent. This will give commissioned providers long term financial stability, support development and innovation in services and ensure the performance of services can be monitored more effectively.

“We have begun engagement with providers and will continue this over the coming months. We will also be engaging with people and their carers and to undertake a formal public consultation before any final decisions are made."


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