£7m of taxpayers’ money will be added to a fund over the next four years to help charities and voluntary organisations upgrade their buildings and other infrastructure, it has emerged.
The Government is setting up a new Community Fund, subject to States Assembly approval, with the aim of replicating the impact of the Fiscal Stimulus Fund, which paid out £19.3m on 43 projects over two years.
The Fiscal Stimulus Fund was established in 2020 as part of a range of measures designed to assist the economy to recover from the impact of covid.
After the approvals process, 47 projects were granted funding totalling £29.4m but some, including renovations at the Opera House, were removed as they no longer met the terms of the fund.
Although as the Chief Scrutineer at the time, the then-Senator Kristina Moore had a number of criticisms of the way the fund was managed, the new Government has assessed that it was a success and wants to continue the concept.
Pictured: Projects enabled by the Fiscal Stimulus Fund included the upgrade to Howard Davis Hall in Howard Davis Park.
The latest Government Plan for 2023-26, which sets out spending plans for the next four years, states: “Following the successful implementation of a number of community projects funded through the Fiscal Stimulus Fund, a Community Project Scheme is proposed that would provide small scale funding to charitable and voluntary sector organisations outside of the Government to improve their physical infrastructure.
“A more detailed plan for the scheme, including terms of reference will be developed in 2023.”
The Government Plan proposes adding £1m to the fund next year and then £2m a year in 2024, 2025 and 2026.
Expanding on the concept in his Ministerial Plan published this week, Treasury Minister Ian Gorst said that his department would "consider possible links to existing funds, funding arrangement, local foundations and/or charitable organisations" in setting up the Community Fund.
In addition to Government support, charities and voluntary organisations have access to other sources of funding, including the Jersey Community Foundation, an independent philanthropic charity which links donors and philanthropists with individuals and groups who apply for support.
Responding to news that the Government was setting up a new fund, Kevin Keen, who chairs the Association of Jersey Charities, said: "We have not yet had the opportunity to study the proposals for the new Community Fund but we welcome all initiatives to assist Jersey’s charitable sector which faces many challenges both short term and long.
"Supporting third-sector infrastructure improvement for the long-term will be helpful but the short-term impacts of inflation and a potential recession will also increase demands on charities at a time when supporters have less to give, and that is extremely worrying."
Pictured: Association of Jersey Charities Chair Kevin Keen said the future for charities remained "worrying", but welcomed the support given by Government.
Projects helped by the Fiscal Stimulus Fund include the redevelopment of the Howard Davis Hall (£750,000), the refurbishment of the Jersey Scout Centre (£244,100) and the expansion of facilities at Springfield Stadium (£2m).
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