On Tuesday 24th November I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on funding for the community and voluntary sector.
I felt it was important to attend and speak in this debate since the diversity and vast number of people helped by the money used by the community and voluntary sector is incredible and life changing. It is a sector that continues to support those who are disadvantaged - the old, the young, the vulnerable, disabled people, BME communities, women, and those who are lost.
I spoke about the positive impact that community organisations have here in Cardiff Central and the growing challenge they are facing around funding because of the UK Government budgets that have to be passed to Welsh local authorities. One example is Grassroots Cardiff, which I visited recently, a small community organisation working with young people. They provide creative opportunities and training in a supportive environment to promote self-confidence and development. They work hard to function within their means but due to Government cuts are really struggling.
I also aired my concern over the rumoured plan the Treasury has to cut the Big Lottery Fund's share of the National Lottery funding from 40% to 25%, which would amount to £300 million less going to the voluntary sector. Since 2010 in Cardiff Central alone, the Big Lottery Fund has supported 74 projects, including the Deaf Youth Summer Theatre School, the SIS Legal and Welfare Advice Pilot Project, and the Adamsdown Day Centre 'Young At Heart' project. The Day Centre provides an essential service for elderly people who would otherwise have little or no daily social interaction. Their Lottery Fund money made the difference between being able to stay open this year or close their doors for good.
The funding of this sector to me, is something that is not only worth discussing in Parliament, but is something that all of us in society need to protect.
I hope the Government take note of what was said by my fellow MPs and I, and I hope it takes action to protect this fantastic, hard-working, critically important sector.
You can watch my full speech here:
Grassroots Cardiff is based on Charles Street in the City Centre and works with young people aged 16-25. More information can be found here.
The Big Lottery fund has helped 74 projects in the Cardiff Central constituency. Full details are available here.