Manchester City Council cuts funds to Somali charity and puts vital community work in peril
- Manchester City Council's budget cuts for 2017-20 have left many charities in trouble
- SASCA faces an uncertain future after its funding was removed
- Moss Side councillors working to try and appeal decision
Refugees from North Africa and Syria could find themselves without help or guidance after the council cut funds to a Somali citizen’s advice bureau.
Somali Adult Social Care Agency (SASCA) has been helping Somali and other communities in Moss Side for a decade but were informed in December they no longer complied with the criteria for the Safeguarding Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) grant.
In a document released by the Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee in February last year, SASCA was praised for providing “valuable support to asylum seekers and refugees”.
But in a subsequent email they were told that the charity’s skills were “unclear” and that the number of volunteers was low. There is no right to appeal the decision, they have been told.
SASCA chair Mohamed Jeilani said: “We were shocked by the decision, the outcome will be the closure of SASCA and our service-users will suffer as the consequence of this decision.
“We are trying to organise fundraising events but we are not sure if we will be able to raise to cover the cost of the rent and other expenses.”
Moss Side elected its first Somali councillor in Manchester in 2016. Councillor Mahadi Mahamed said he and fellow Moss Side councillors were not consulted on the decision.
Cllr Mahamed said: “We the Moss Side councillors disagree with the decision. We believe SASCA does excellent and valuable work in the community.
“Unfortunately, this decision has affected many small charity organisations across Manchester. We’re making representations to the executive member with responsibility, and are meeting with them next week to discuss further.”
Fellow Moss Side councillor, Sameem Ali, said a meeting had already been arranged with city council deputy leader, Councillor Sue Murphy, who had promised to conduct an impact assessment into cuts to organisations such as Sasca.
MP Lucy Powell has also been invited to speak to Sasca on Friday.
She said: “We are fighting for Sasca, we really are. It’s unacceptable they have had their funding pulled. It’s just a great resource in Moss Side and does an incredible job. Without it the community wil have nowhere to go.”
Chair of the communities and equalities scrutiny committee, Councillor Tracey Rawlins, was asked to comment but did not respond .
It is estimated that 30,000 Somalis live in Manchester. Sasca is looking to recruit more volunteers to help with its charity work. If you can hep please ring 07518 555514.
A change.org petition online started in a bid to save the organisation.
There is also a petition on the city council website.