Further to your recent article explaining the excellent work done by the Jubilee Club for older members of our community and by The Enablement Hub for those with learning disabilities in Marlborough, I thought it might be helpful to provide more detailed context about the decisions made by Wiltshire Council.
The grant system has been in place since the 1980s and originates with the district councils. There is therefore significant variation between the funds available to people in different locations across Wiltshire, for example Chippenham is allocated £0.08 per person, but in Marlborough the grant funding amounts to £3.88 per person.
The grants are a closed system and new clubs wishing to start up are not able to access funds. In addition, although our brilliant local clubs are very well managed and have clear governance structures including DBS checks, there is no ability to check this systematically across Wiltshire.
We need to support all clubs to transition to a new funding model that aims to sustain their operations whilst also offering a more open, diverse, equitable system, that will ensure individuals and their carers are connected to available social care support and meet all governance requirements.
This does mean our local Marlborough clubs will face a significant reduction in their grant funding, but the new Open Framework will commence with meetings to support the clubs to apply, starting on the 9th March. These meetings will provide continuing support as the new framework is put in place by Summer this year. The phased reduction in funds should cover the Wiltshire grant funding to clubs whilst they transition to the new funding model.
Our wonderful local clubs have a great deal of experience and understanding of how to support individuals and this will put them in a very good place to join the new funding structure.
As a long-term supporter of both our local clubs and as a Wiltshire councillor, I will be doing everything I can to support these organisations during this transition. I applaud everything that Sally Wolfenden said about the Jubilee Centre and would encourage people to volunteer there, I have been involved in fundraising and meeting lunch guests. It is a fun place to be with lots of laughter and real loving care; one of those places whereby giving you receive more back!
Please do not hesitate to step up and support the clubs and all the other community ventures that happen in Marlborough. The Town Council has some great plans in place for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this summer, please do get involved, our community has so much to celebrate.
Wiltshire Councillor for Marlborough West