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Third sector clients feeling the pinch

Location: UK » West Midlands » B
Third sector clients feeling the pinch

I run a small design agency which specialises in work for third sector (charity and social enterprise) clients. Most are reporting in-year (2010-11) cuts in their public sector contracts and grants, some are very pessimistic about the outlook after next spring, when they’ll be having contracts and grants reviewed. One of these is a regional agency which supports the social enterprise sector, another a local social enterprise which provides business support and training to new and existing social enterprises. Both are under severe threat of scale down or winding up.

The regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands, has made substantial in-year cuts in funding to three of my most important clients and will eventually be abolished. Capacitybuilders, a quango which has been a significant funder for third sector organisations here, is also to go in the bonfire of the quangos.

I’m getting the feeling that when the Coalition says it supports social enterprise, it means only huge scale hiving off of public sector functions into start up enterprises, a little like happened when Network Rail was created. At a more local and community level, the indications here are that the very agencies needed to support the start up and development of social enterprise are under threat.

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