Thurrock Tories “Big Society” a little closer

LAST WEEKS controversial council meeting saw the Thurrock Conservatives call for a local budget to help the “Big Society” become a reality.

The new budget of at least £112,000 will be made up from money formerly given to the Council’s contractors Vertex, then used as a social responsibility fund.

Cllr Rob Gledhill said “It seems sensible to cut out any administration costs and make this money accessible to local good causes and community projects. I have spoken to officers, including the Chief Executive, about expanding this scheme out to include other small grants and allowing local businesses and residents to pledge not only money but time and expertise”.

The Council will now set up a task and finish group to establish how the community can access this fund, and how local businesses and residents can help increase the size and scope of resources available.

Cllr Gledhill added “Labour’s original budget saw £60,000 being removed from voluntary sector grants in their normal top-slicing approach to savings. In times austerity the community needs to work together.

“This fund will increase the amount of money, time, expertise and resources available to community groups across the Borough. I hope this will lead to a radical shake-up of how all grants are awarded, and I know the Chief Executive and the relevant directors will be looking to see what other resources can be used as part of this fund.”

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