Honiton Town Council U-turn on grants for local groups

Left hand doesn’t know what right hand is doing in Honiton Town Council – are we surprised? – Owl

Hannah Corfield honiton.nub.news 

No further grants for this year will be awarded to local organisations in Honiton, despite the town council suggesting more money would be made available.

Since the January meeting – in which the grant application deadline was extended with the promise of more funding – council members have gone back on that agreement, stating that ‘unfortunately’ it is not possible to award further grants in 2020/21.

The reason for this change of heart is that the council must first ‘review this year’s reserves’, which won’t be known until the end of the financial year.

The decision was apparently made at the February full council meeting, although no mention of this outcome was recorded.

Honiton Town Council issued the following statement: “It was agreed back in January to grant £40,000 to local organisations for 2020/21, to support local organisations during a particularly challenging year.

“The council has agreed in excess of its £18,0000 budget.

“Grants were agreed on the basis that local organisations have experienced financial difficulties this year arising, not least, from Covid-19.

“At its meeting held on 8 February, the council decided that it unfortunately could not award further grants in 2020/21.

“This is because the council financial outturn 2020/21 will not be known until year end and reserves to be reviewed.”

While no further grants are to be awarded, Honiton Town Council has stated that it wishes to help local groups by other means.

Cllr Philip Carrigan said: “The council would like to continue to financially support local groups.

“There may be other sources of funding that the council (and perhaps others, e.g. East Devon District Council) can direct organisations to.

“The council will explore using other funding including S106 financial contributions, CIL payments and other council revenue budget.

“It is likely that the Council will open its grant bids for 2021/22 from April 2021, which would provide another opportunity for local organisations to secure council grant funding.”