A DECISION to cut funding for community workers at three Bradford organisations has been upheld by councillors but they have made extra cash available that could provide short-term help.

As part of the cuts imposed on Bradford Council through the Government’s austerity measures, funding for community development work has been reduced and a panel of councillors recommended ending funding for a community development worker at the Millan Centre in west Bradford, which provides services for women from minority communities, a worker providing support for the African Caribbean community at Manningham Mills Sports and Community Centre and another at Frizinghall Community Centre.

Instead, the council proposed to continue funding the buildings and provide community development staff through other organisations.

After hearing from the affected organisations tonight, Bradford Council’s West Area Panel approved the changes, but also made available a contingency fund of £33,000 and invited bids for some of that cash from organisations which have lost out as a result of the changes.

A protest took place outside City Hall before the meeting by some of those affected by the changes.

Elizabeth Hellmich, who represents the Millan Centre said the decision to make the contingency fund available “won’t achieve anything”.

There had been concern from within the council that community development staff had been spending time effectively managing centres rather than on development work.

Part of the their purpose in examining bids for funding was to identify those which placed most emphasis on working in communities, though Ms Hellmich said: “If places had bid writers, people would stand a better chance. The groups here are run by the community.”

The meeting was addressed by Dr Mohammed Salam, who represents the ethnic minority voluntary sector and he warned that the action of withdrawing funding could leave the council open to complaints to the Ombudsman or to have the decision examined through a judicial review.

He asked why, if it was known the Millan Centre was not doing enough development work, no guidance had been offered.

“They have been doing that job because it was a priority in that area.

“Women are a minority within a minority.

“BME women are doubly disadvantaged,” he said.

Councillor Sinead Engel told the meeting: “There is no way it is physically possible for us to fund all the services we want to.

“What we have had to do is to make sure every person has access to good community development support.”

“The only way we could up with was the model we have. “In a dream world this is not what I would be suggesting.” she said.

Under the council scheme, core funding to support the three centres will remain in place, though it is accepted they may face problems if the development workers to be lost have been involved in running those buildings.