Welwyn Hatfield’s ‘hidden cut’ as lid closes on Community Chest

CASH for voluntary and charity groups, given out by ward councillors for their own communities, has been scrapped.

The Community Chest money has been stopped by Welwyn Hatfield Council and, according to Labour councillor Lynn Chesterman, it will make a huge difference to the people involved.

Cllr Chesterman, pictured, said: “It’s a hidden cut.

“All parties did enjoy helping out their local communities, and it meant that councillors had to work hard and communicate with their communities.”

In the three years since the scheme was launched in 2008, a total of �389,992.32 was spent on community projects in every ward of the borough.

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Cllr Chesterman added: “It was small amounts of money but it made a fantastic difference.

“One of the best things was the thank yous and feedback you’d receive.”

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Council leader John Dean said: “I’m really pleased with the level of spending on community initiatives by local ward councillors over the last two years.

“The sheer volume of projects shows how valuable this scheme has been in promoting community initiatives at the heart of our neighbourhoods.”

A council spokesman said: “The Community Chest scheme was only ever funded to run for the three financial years from 2008-09 to 2010-11.

“Councillors can consider re-introducing the scheme. Such a decision would have to be weighed up against other priorities in light of the �2.6m savings the council needs to achieve over the next three years.”

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