Charity hits out at funding cuts

A COUNCIL has come under fire from charity workers who claim they are being blighted by “unfair” funding cuts despite growing public need.The Bury St Edmunds-based Gatehouse, which supports the disadvantaged and elderly, has experienced cuts from both Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council in the past year.

A COUNCIL has come under fire from charity workers who claim they are being blighted by “unfair” funding cuts despite growing public need.

The Bury St Edmunds-based Gatehouse, which supports the disadvantaged and elderly, has experienced cuts from both Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council in the past year.

It received £4,000 from St Edmundsbury this year compared to £10,000 four years ago and £8,000 last year. The county council gave £6,250 last year and £4,000 this.

Last night the charity's chairman Kevin Mayhew said although the public were more willing to give money towards the £200,000 running costs, the councils seemed less willing.


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He said: “Our problem is that the councils know we will help needy people to our dying breath because that is the way charities are, but that's not fair and the Trustees of Gatehouse have decided to do something about it.

“We will approach councillors individually and as a group making a case for a reversal of this parsimony.

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“Gatehouse is a long established charity with an enormous fund of goodwill in the community. We rise to every challenge thrown to us and we appeal to our councillors to match our commitment.”

Gatehouse centre manager Joan Pawling echoed the words of Mr Mayhew and added that volunteers felt let down by the councils' declining support.

She said: “We are being asked to do more work but we are being given less support. We are not alone in this and people should stand up. We won't give up on people because we are a Christian charity but it is increasingly difficult without money.

“Volunteers and workers here feel disappointment and frustration with the lack of recognition - it is disappointment going to anger at times.”

A spokesman for the county council said: “This has nothing to do with the current round of budget savings we have had to make.

“The grant we have given them for furniture recycling was only for a limited period only so they could look for other sources of funding.”

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury defended their grants for worthy causes.

“We get numerous requests for funding from a wide range of organisations and we can't give everyone everything they want.

“Gatehouse is a worthy cause and we have been happy to support it with generous funding.”

The charity cares for those in “genuine need” in Mildenhall and Bury St Edmunds including the disadvantaged and the elderly.

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