“Bitter disappointment” after Richmondshire Community & Voluntary Action loses funding

Rishi Sunak, Cllr Peacock, Keith Hall and Judith Bromfield (chief officer of the RCVA) pictured when it was announced RCVA had been given funding to develop plans for Richmond Lower School.

Richmondshire Community & Voluntary Action (RCVA) has announced that it has lost its funding, meaning jobs are set to go and services provided by the organisation are at risk.

RCVA (formerly Richmond Volunteer Centre) has provided support for voluntary organisations and volunteers in the district for over 30 years.

The body is behind several services in the district including Colburn Community Cafe, a community car scheme, community transport scheme, Richmondshire Over 50s Forum and Hambleton and Richmondshire Disability Forum.

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The organisation was also awarded £155,000 last year to develop plans to turn Richmond Lower School into a community hub.

The organisation employs four staff and has offices in Flints Street, Richmond.

North Yorkshire County Council and the NHS have provided financial support which is supplemented by local fundraising and partnerships.

In 2016 a new competitive process for this funding was introduced by North Yorkshire County Council and the North Yorkshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The North Yorkshire Alliance (NYA) of seven district based independent support and development charities and volunteer centres worked closely to put forward a collaborative bid to continue providing these services across North Yorkshire.

The result was announced in January 2017 and the three year £1.4 million contract had been awarded to a new provider, Rural Action Yorkshire, commencing 1 April 2017.

Rural Action Yorkshire is based in Askam Bryan, near York.

Chair of the North Yorkshire Alliance, Keith Hall, of Richmondshire Community and Voluntary Action, told Richmondshire Today that he was “very hopeful” that many of the services provided by the organisation would find a new home.

However, it is understood management of the large pool of volunteer drivers built up by RCVA will not be a service taken on by Rural Action Yorkshire.

It is also unclear whether RCVA’s plans for Richmond Lower School will now be taken forward.

Mr Hall added:  “The partnership worked extremely hard to put forward an ambitious, authentic and achievable proposal, based on our substantial past experience of providing support to charities and volunteers across the county.

“Our seven independent charities are member led organisations based in our communities and it is a bitter disappointment to us that our bid was not selected.”

Mr Hall said the impact of the loss of funding could not be underestimated.

“Each board of trustees is now involved in detailed work to review their position and agree their future role in their area.

“RCVA Trustees have had to make a difficult decision to end the delivery of projects, services and support resulting in staff redundancies and the loss of our well used community building.

“RCVA will now become a volunteer led organisation evaluating its longer term future and seeking new opportunities to develop volunteering and community action in Richmondshire.”