“Uncertain future” for Thurrock anti-racism group TRUST

BY their own admission, these are difficult times for Thurrock Racial Unity Support Taskgroup (Trust).

Founded almost ten years ago, the group fear that the cuts and/or the reshaping of the bidding process for grants may have a deep impact on the way they function.

The taskgroup has certainly grown since 2001. From a cluster of unpaid volunteers, the group has expanded to the extent that according to their accounts salaries and wages have ballooned to £174,118.

Much of that is borne by the taxpayer with Thurrock Council making two contributions of £88,854 and £25,000 respectively. It also appears from the accounts that the group are assisted by only being charged £523 per year to rent their offices in the Thameside complex. The Big Lottery funded £39,235 and the PCT granted £60,802.

Critics of Trust claim that it is difficult to truly assess what they do. Their website has been moribund for well over a year and there has been a strange lack of pro-activity in promoting what they do.

This time last year, the Tory administration in Thurrock had, according to sources, their eye on Trust; questioning the amount of money paid to them and pondering whether Trust could function just as effectively as a group of unpaid volunteers or survive though private funding and not through the taxpayer.

Labour may take a more charitable view but ironically, with new Tory councillor Phil Anderson being voted onto the board of TRUST, his expertise may well help the organisation survive.

Before their AGM, YourThurrock spoke to Chair Baldev Gill about the challenges facing Trust in the coming year.

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