Following a period of uncertainty, we have now learnt that the funding that we receive from West Sussex County Council has been cut by 20% with effect from November this year. This is largely the result of a reduction in the public health budget that WSCC receive from the Department of Health. It is hoped that this, albeit reduced, funding will be in place until March 2019. Our funding from both Arun and Chichester District Councils remains the same as previously for this current year.
We have not had an increase in our funding since 2010 and this is, in real terms, a reduction of at least 12% over the last 6 years. We believe that the merger to form VAAC in 2012 and the adaptable management/staffing structure since then has enabled us to meet the challenge of these strictures in our finances. However, this further cut will inevitably impact on our ability to deliver support and advice to our members and others in the Arun and Chichester districts. As a result of the restructuring of the staff team, which was planned in anticipation of a reduction in funding, the Development Team’s hours have reduced by 23% and we have reduced the Chief Executive hours by 32%. However we have at the same time focused our work on the issues identified by our members and are confident that we will maintain both a high quality and quantity of service. On occasions we may need to be more reactive rather than proactive in the work that we do and look at ways of diversifying our income.
It is still our aim to meet the needs of the many voluntary and community groups in our area as we believe that these are vital to a vibrant and healthy community and we will do all within our power to achieve this.