Council fund cut kills sports charity
BARKING and Dagenham Sports Council, which has provided vital support to hundreds of small sports clubs in the borough, has been forced to shut down after 50 years. The decision to disband was taken by members this month after the council refused to offe
BARKING and Dagenham Sports Council, which has provided vital support to hundreds of small sports clubs in the borough, has been forced to shut down after 50 years.
The decision to disband was taken by members this month after the council refused to offer the group a grant for the second year running.
The Sports Council relied heavily on the council funding, which they had received every year since the group was formed in 1959.
The money, around �1,700 a year, was used to help smaller sports clubs with anything from trophies and equipment to coach fees and travel costs.
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When the Sports Council demanded an explanation from the council they were told that all applicants were judged through a points system. The Sports Council had, apparently, not achieved the required amount of points.
Chairman Wayne Deller slammed the authority's decision, saying: "I can not believe that after 50 years of service the council is prepared to sign the death warrant of the Barking and Dagenham Sports Council for the sake of a mere �2,000.
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"Over the years the Sports Council has funded countless coaches, items of equipment, travel and membership that might well have been out of reach of some of the poorest families in the country."
Mr Deller said the group had also provided clubs with information about other funding sources.
He added: "Had the council reduced the grants of �250,000 to Barking Rubgy Club last year and this year to Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club by a mere 0.8% the Sports Council would still exist."
The group's secretary, Debbie Moore, said the Sports Council was needed more now than ever:
"So many smaller clubs are struggling because of the credit crunch. There are no other groups like the Sports Council who can help them.
"The Living the Dream trust is fantastic, but it only helps athletes at a national level. We help people at a grass root level, some of whom may reach Olympic standard one day but need help."
She said the Sports Council had applied to other bodies for grants, but had been unsuccessful.
Many sports clubs have come forward to express their disappointment over the closure.
Cheryl Rex, from the Lilac and Whites Majorettes Group said: "I cannot believe this, the Sports Council was such a big help with our fundraising. Without them we wouldn't know where to start."
A council spokesperson said: "The council has a small grants pot of about �88,000 from which the Sports Council traditionally received its grant.
"The value of applications far exceeds the funding available so in recent times it has been necessary to make some difficult decisions about which organisations should be supported.
"A scoring system was introduced and organisations which showed they were effectively contributing to the council's priorities scored more highly than those that did not.