Letter: CAB - No thanks from this organisation

Coun John Mann responds to the letter from the Citizens Advice Bureau
Coun John Mann responds to the letter from the Citizens Advice Bureau

As a member of the grants panel, I would like to respond to the letter from the Citizens Advice Bureau in last week’s letters page.

The CAB do a great job. They are a very valued service and the area would be poorer without them.

That is why for the past four years they have been awarded a six-figure sum by Harrogate Council to support their work.

This year the council had many more applications for strategic grants totalling £100,000 more than the cash available and the CAB was awarded £70,000.

Strategic grants are awarded for a fixed term and at the end of that term organisations need to bid again for the next three years’ worth of funding. It is an open process and so any organisation can bid.

The CAB bid for 70 per cent of all the funding available, which is quite a hefty proportion and if granted would have meant many local groups going without.

In the end the CAB received 40 per cent of all the money available, by far the largest of any organisation, and approaching double that of the second largest award.

It was therefore a little disappointing not to read the words ‘thank you’ in their letter to this newspaper. This is, after all, taxpayers’ money – and a lot of it - which they have been given.

The letter also intimated that the new three-year funding round had come as a surprise to the CAB. However, the CAB signed a funding agreement with the council and in that it was clear that the funding period would end on March 31, 2016.

The CAB were written to on July 27 last year to remind them that they would have to bid afresh for funding for a further three year period from 2016 to 2019.

Harrogate taxpayers, through the council, have awarded the CAB more than three times the contribution made by Craven Council and proportionately to the budget of the council well above what North Yorkshire County Council have given.

We can be proud of the support we give to the CAB – and many other voluntary organisations.

And I do thank the taxpayers for the contribution they make to voluntary groups across the district. It is substantial and welcomed.

Coun John Mann

Harrogate Borough Council