Financial pressure to continue for Winchester charities, meeting hears

Hampshire Chronicle: Paul Williams and the then-mayor Barry Lipscomb when WACA moved to Colebrook Street Paul Williams and the then-mayor Barry Lipscomb when WACA moved to Colebrook Street

Winchester’S voluntary sector can expect no extra funding in the coming year, an AGM was told on Thursday (October 25).

Winchester Area Community Action (WACA), which supports and promotes volunteers groups throughout the district, held its annual meeting at the Middle Brook Centre.

Attendees heard from Eloise Appleby, the city’s assistant director for economic prosperity, that the council was under pressure from central government to make substantial savings.

However, it was an optimistic address, in which she urged closer ties between the voluntary sector and the council.

She said: “There’s so much more that we can do as a council to help you do more and I hope that my personal zeal for this task will translate at the council into more help for you.”

WACA chief executive Paul Williams said that last year 164 voluntary organisations received support from them in applying for grants.

He cited as an example the North Winchester YOUR Community Action (NWYCA) group. With the help of WACA, they successfully bid for £350,000.

Last year WACA also carried out 46 criminal records background checks for staff in order to ensure good practice within the districts voluntary sector.

The meeting also heard that WACA’s website, Do It, had registered 792 volunteering opportunities, and they had a hand in 219 placements.

But Mr Williams said: “It’s more than just numbers what we do in the voluntary sector – there’s a qualitative element to what we do. So not just delivering a meal on wheels, but helping that person to eat it too. And that’s harder to quantify.”

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