Saddened by 2012 actions

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I HAVE read some of the comments from the recent exposure of inappropriate use of public funds by a voluntary organisation which was funded from the Community Investment Fund last year.

Their actions really saddens and at the same time infuriates me because they have let us all down. I would like to stress that the process was rigorous, in fact it was quite stressful and the funding was not just given away lightly. There were several processes, panel meetings and stages which took months of negotiations, discussions, and support in fact I would say the process was too stringent at times. Every group who applied was offered help and support and all the officers were keen to ensure the process was fair and accountable. Also all the groups who received the funding knew from the outset that there would be a six monthly review. Approaching the review time we had correspondence from the council reminding us and offering help and support in order to prepare and submit the monitoring forms and reports.

We submitted a detailed report including a financial report which was then followed up by a panel visit made up of officers from Wigan Council.

This funding and working collaboratively with Wigan Council secured the future of Sunshine House, it has given us space to develop new Social Enterprises, it has helped us to provide 4 luncheon clubs per week, we have opened up an new function room and smaller rooms including a café area. We also run a variety of workshops, we have increased our volunteers provided training and qualifications. We have upgraded our technology from 10-year old computers to ones that work and we can offer great projects like community cinema. Now we are starting to work with other organisations such as Winston’s Wish and Headway. We promote Health & Wellbeing, work with new groups to provide exciting and innovative projects and anyone is welcome to come and look around, see our accounting system and ask as many questions as you like we welcome that.

Please visit our new web site or telephone and we will send you our new bulletin. Wigan Council has some of the best young, innovative and forward thinking directors who want to build strong Community Groups and to develop Social Care programmes in hubs across the borough, they want to encourage and support innovative projects which will have real meaning in communities and make a real and lasting difference in people’s lives. I am thankful that the council trusted us to handle this huge pot of money and trusted us to be accountable to them and to the people of Wigan. Don’t judge everyone on the group that let us all down!

Barbara Nettleton

Sunshine House