Bracknell charity's fate to be decided tonight
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BFVA chief executive Martin Gilman.
A VOLUNTEER who heads two Bracknell charities has said it will be 'disastrous' if Bracknell Forest Voluntary Action (BFVA) closes.
Geoff Hallett - who runs Bracknell Foodbank with wife Pat, as well as Bracknell Area Deaf and Hard of Hearing Support Group (BAD HOGS) - has described BFVA as a first-class organisation, providing vital support for hundreds of charities across Bracknell.
But the organisation will face the chop if Bracknell Forest councillors do not agree to give it a £60,000 bailout tonight (Wednesday).
BFVA chief executive Martin Gilman has warned that without the one-off cash injection - which would be on top of the £141,000 annual council grant it already receives each year - the charity would close on March 31, with the loss of 14 jobs. But even with the extra money, Mr Gilman fears he may only be able to keep three-four full-time equivalent roles.
Mr Hallett said: "I can certainly say from a BAD HOGS point of view it will be disastrous if it [BFVA] goes. We work very closely with BFVA; it's a first-class organisation and the amount of help and support we've received - and the quality - has been second to none."
According to Mr Gilman it is the loss of two council contracts - the Carers' Support Service and the Domestic Support Service - combined with the withdrawal of £20,000 of central government funding which has left the organisation in dire straits.
Even with the funding, he is anticipating significant job losses and without it, BFVA will fold altogether.
However Mr Hallett argued that without BFVA, charities like Bad Hogs and Bracknell Foodbank would have to find more money to pay for necessary training.
"Health and safety, first aid, the list of requirements goes on and on, it's massive," he explained. "As a charity you need BFVA behind you to get yourself started out - I don't know what we would do without it. It's excellent value for money."
He added BFVA staff are diligent, dedicated and hard working and said: "Whoever's thinking they can wind up BFVA hasn't got their business head on properly. They're looking at the user end of it and we're at the operating end of it.
"BFVA workers are listening and they're coming up with the goods. I wish other people would listen to us as well before they make decisions based on sustainability."
The council is discussing with BFVA on the conditions of the funding, which would require it to work closely with the council during 2013/14 to become more self-sufficient.
A final decision will be made at the full council meeting today, from 7.30pm, in Easthampstead House.
This article appeared in Bracknell News 27 Feb 13
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Feb 27, 17:16
If so many jobs would need to go even with this grant either BFVA would not be able to function in which case it will fold anyway or it is hopelessly overstaffed.
Many charities start off with good intentions but go down the road of being a source of income for those at the top and lose touch with their roots. Whether BFVA is one of these I do not know but I hope councillors will do more than glance at the paperwork presented to them and demand to see the paperwork not proffered.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 0
Feb 28, 01:51
I would like to now who gets paid what.
If big contracts have gone, have the people that ran them gone?
How much does the CEO and others get? How can wee find out these figures?
Councile sites publish this- Why dont charities doe the same for tranparency?
Recommend? Yes 6 No 0
Feb 28, 14:52
Does a charity the size of BFVA (14 staff) need a CEO? Or is this, as I have previously suggested a vanity job title? I think Mr Gilman should be honest and let us know how much his salry is as this is now been paid from the public purse.
If, as reported, even with the grant they cut the staff to 3 will the CEO be replaced with a manager?
The total grant including the one off £60k (which the council have found in its reserves) is now around £5k a week. What other business of the same size could spend such an amount?
Recommend? Yes 5 No 0