Charity continues battle for their fair share of funding

Jilted charity FareShare, whose funding was withdrawn earlier this year, has now claimed that Defra dropped them because their operations cost 700 times a year more than other publicly funded waste schemes.

"This is disingenuous," FareShare's marketing manager Alex Green stated. "By Defra's own estimates, our operation costs £700 per tonne of food handled, which we refute."

"They now tell us that we are 700 times more expensive. This means that Defra is funding waste schemes at a cost of £1 per tonne of waste handled."

Mr Green added that he felt this was unlikely, but a spokesperson from Defra cited the Envirowise programme as being one such cheaper scheme, costing around £4 per tonne of waste, rather than £700.

"The government did not decide FareShare was not cost efficient and concentrate on cheaper ways of destroying rubbish," she told edie. "But following the reform of the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme in 2003, there is no longer a source of funding for FareShare to claim from."

She added that, although a small minority had lost out, the reform in general had brought some major achievements, including a huge boost towards meeting national recycling targets, the launch of a major national recycling campaign, and much improved support for local authorities.

However, FareShare told edie that it seemed unfair that they were still denied funding for a vital environmental and public service at a time when the Home Office was allegedly spending £35,000 each day in consultancy fees to an agency advising them on identity cards, and Defra was offering grants of between £5,000 and £75,000 to those suffering from "rural stress".

"It seems that priorities are skewed in the government," Mr Green continued. "Homelessness and use of fit for purpose foods are off the agenda, but rural stress deserves a scheme of its own. Words fail us."

Defra was unable to comment on these issues, but maintained that the charity should be able to get funding from other sources (see related story), adding that it was not in a position to comment on the use of cash in other government departments.

In November 2004, Defra announced a £4 million funding package for the voluntary and community sector to support its work in reusing, recycling and composting waste.

By Jane Kettle



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