Bleak future – Sunderland charities ‘stretched to their limit’

From left Dorothy Gardiner and Jean Walker from Mind, Mary Street, Sunderland
From left Dorothy Gardiner and Jean Walker from Mind, Mary Street, Sunderland
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CHARITIES and voluntary organisations across Wearside are being stretched to their limit, a new report has revealed.

Figures from North East volunteer organisation Vonne, warn groups are facing the effects of funding cuts.

Jo Curry, chief executive of Vonne, said the growing crisis has led to claims the sector is “about to implode.”

The report showed that 59 per cent of charities have seen a decrease in funding, and a third have let staff go.

A quarter say that they may close a service in the next 12 months.

“We have been warning the Government and funders for years that if you carry on cutting the voluntary sector services will be lost,” said Jo.

“Organisations operating at the heart of communities are not there anymore.

“And the opening of public service contracts is failing to take off in a way that fills the gaps left by cuts in grant income. We must act collectively to halt this decline.”

Ruth Oxley, project coordinator at Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project said: “We are finding that we are being used by the community for information they would have received from statutory organisations,” she said.

“And we are helping them, but we have had to let staff go so we are very stretched.

“It’s really hard and I can’t see it getting better because more cuts are being made.”

Dorothy Gardiner, project manager at Sunderland Mind, said: “Although there has been these cuts, as an organisation we have continued to provide all of our services. But referrals are on the increase and foresee this will be the trend with the Welfare Reform.”