Hampshire County Council is to give £1.4 million in grants to voluntary organisations and charities that look after and support older people, the vulnerable and their carers.
Volunteers play an increasingly important role in the support provided to their local community. In 2014/15 the Adult Services grants programme could potentially involve up to 9,452 volunteers. That could provide benefits worth an extra £3 million in salary costs, based on each volunteer offering an hour a week for a year, at a national minimum wage of £6.31 per hour.
Grants are awarded to help services that are better provided by the voluntary sector and meet Adult Services' aims and objectives. These include early intervention and prevention, protecting vulnerable people and maximising independence.
The grants were approved by Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health at her Decision Day on Friday 24 January.
Cllr Fairhurst said: "With the continuing challenges of the economic climate, with our Government grant being cut by 43 per cent over four years, it's important that we continue to support voluntary and community organisations and charities where we can. We do this in a number of ways including giving grants, contracting services and helping organisations promote the services they provide in the community.
"These grants make a real difference to the organisations that receive them and the support they give to the community. This year there has been considerable pressure on our grants budget, which is oversubscribed at a time when all of our services are having to reduce their budgets. We are funding projects that are most closely linked to our aims, but have still been able to offer funding to new groups and those who have previously received a grant and have applied for funding this year."
The distribution of grants is broken down as follows: