Closure is sign of times

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The disappointing news of Sunderland South Forum closing at the end of March is a sign of the times when it comes to funding of community and charitable organisations.

The South Forum was probably one of the most successful charitable community organisation in the area.

For many years the Forum, based in the Jubilee Centre, Allendale Road, organised a meeting for all the community organisations within the South Area of Sunderland of St Chad’s, Silksworth and Doxford wards. It was formed several years ago as a means for local charities and communities to meet and exchange ideas and events.

A major area of funding, which could have easily helped the South Forum continue, is The European Structural and Investment Funds programme. The European Social Fund (ESF), which focuses on improving the employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help people need to fulfil their potential.

The only problem is that the Government must make an application to draw on this fund, which has been available since 2014.

Spend has been delayed to date, however, the tendering process has begun, as far as I’m aware delivery was expected this September, but this will now be delayed while we wait to decide if we stay in the EU.

Meanwhile, community organisations like the South Forum close.

Stuart Porthouse,

Chairman Sunderland South Forum