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07 March 2019

Wiltshire Council changing how it supports community friendship clubs for disabled people

The council is changing our model for providing friendship clubs to residents and whilst we are withdrawing funding to 13 clubs, we are not closing them. Our aim is to support friendship clubs on their way to becoming self-sufficient for the long-term

Jerry Wickham cabinet member

Wiltshire Council is changing the way it supports community friendship clubs for disabled people across the county. 

Although the council won't be awarding individual grants to 13 clubs from 31 May, there will still be money available to develop a way forward that ensures there are opportunities across the whole county.

Currently the council provides grants of £124k to friendship clubs across the county. For 2019/20 Wiltshire Council will offer £62k to develop a standard countywide scheme. All clubs have been offered the opportunity to develop and influence the council's vision of delivering these services in the future, and work with council commissioners in the spirit of co-production. Alongside this, Wiltshire Council will also be widely consulting with those organisations who represent individuals across the county who may not be able to access any club currently.

The council will also be offering advice to clubs about alternative funding sources that might be available to explore and staff are available to meet with groups if they wish to do so.

Jerry Wickham cabinet member said: "The council is changing our model for providing friendship clubs to residents and whilst we are withdrawing funding to 13 clubs, we are not closing them. Our aim is to support friendship clubs on their way to becoming self-sufficient for the long-term. We have to think a bit differently on how we spend money and we hope that once we've spoken in detail with the clubs affected they will be keen to be part of what we're trying to achieve.

"We know these services are valued by local communities and although they may be provided in a different way, there will still be support available for those who need it. It is vital we provide support to residents across the county whereas currently the grant funding is not distributed equally and that is an issue we must address. We are working with these clubs and other partners on a new model moving forwards and welcome their ideas."

Last updated: 7 March 2019 | Last reviewed: 7 March 2019

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