#CutsWatchNI: the results are coming in
NICVA have been collecting data on the impacts of cuts to the community and voluntary sector. We've been asking organisations what the impact will be on their funding streams, jobs and ultimately the members of the community who will suffer from a withdrawal of important and vital services.
Some of the funds that are included in the responses to us so far are:
- Withdrawal of the Early Years Fund,
- A reduction of 11.2% in the Arts Council's budget,
- Reduction in funding for community and rural transport schemes,
- The impact of the European Social Fund 2014-20 allocations on the sector.
The information that we've been collecting through our survey is far from complete, but it does give a picture of the scale of impact on the community and voluntary sector. To protect sensitivities around potential job and service losses, it's important that we keep the information anonymous and produce aggregated results only. However, we will keep this summary information updated as the responses roll in, and we also plan to feature case studies of organisations and services affected by cuts.
The areas in which organisations work cover a wide range of services, from health and social care, to education, employment and training. However, the most impacted areas of work that we have seen so far are those working for children and young people and work in the local community.
£8m worth of funding cuts have been identified from over 115 organisations who have, by now, responded. Funding streams have been impacted by varying degrees, most between 5% and 40%. However, many have been reduced by as much as 100%, resulting in a total withdrawal of the affected services in some cases and, in some cases, leading to closure of the organisations. The Early Years Fund and Neighbourhood Renewal are the most reported on funding streams, followed by funding from HSC Trusts and DHSSPS Core Funding, the Department of Education and the European Social Fund.
The chart below shows how jobs will be affected across the organisations contributing to the survey. Through this survey alone 340 job losses have been reported; however, we have identified over 450 jobs that will be lost across a range of funding streams to the community and voluntary sector, and that number is continually increasing as pressures increase. In most organisations responding to the survey, job losses have been an outcome of funding cuts, and many are also reducing staff hours and freezing or reducing salaries.
Impact of funding cuts on jobs in the voluntary and community sector
Voluntary and community organisations are managing funding cuts in a manner of different ways. Many are looking for ways in which to secure alternative sources of funding to try and fill the gap, but in the short-term they are also having to reduce pay and hours, make redundancies, and ultimately reduce the level of service provision in their work areas and communities. The total figure of adversly impact service users numbers in the hundreds of thousands, but whole communities have also lost out, and there are many more than this that can be measured by one survey.
Trends of cuts
- Children and young people are the service users most affected by the cuts.
- In the voluntary and community sector, cuts lead directly to job losses. In some cases, cuts also lead to the closure of services and organisations due to the cost of redundancies and lack of funding.
- Cuts passed on to organisations are disproportionate to the cuts faced by departments. For example, a 1.5% cut to the Department of Education budget compared to a 100% cut in the Early Years Fund (with the exception of residual funding to the end of August 2015).
- Cuts happen in isolation in a number of departments and funding streams, but this is having a devastating cumulative impact on certain organisations who are being cut from more than one direction.
- Funding cuts to voluntary and community organisations ultimately impact on service users and local communities.
We need your help, please fill in our survey
After the savagery of Black Thursday we're aware of many more devastating cuts that will be affecting voluntary and community organisations across Northern Ireland. But we're only starting to gather this data. If you have information about the impact on your organisation that you'd like to share with us, please complete and share the survey below (or follow this link).
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