Tuesday 19 October 2004 9.14am
As you can imagine, both I and the other members of the board of WCRT - all of us ordinary members of the local community who are passionate about trying to help local community organisations - feel hurt and concerned by this correspondence. Of course we can always do better, but the reason my previous letter emphasised the positive is not because we are self-congratulatory. As the chair of an organisation distributing and managing community funds, it would be completely wrong of me to discuss details of any individual application on a forum of this kind. I can defend in general terms, but I can't go into details. Moreover, while anyone can criticise WCRT, we neither wish to nor would consider criticising back. What I can say is that we do take criticism very seriously and examine carefully why it has arisen and what steps should be taken. It is also not unreasonable for me to point out that such criticism is actually comparatively rare.
I completely agree with the comment in a previous e-mail that â€˜One of the key factors in providing SRB funding to community groups is the support and guidance that goes with it'. WCRT continually offers such early and ongoing support, and many organisations have gone on to receive funds and other support not only from ourselves but from other funders as a result. On the few occasions when either grantees or unsuccessful applicants feel that in some way we have not come up to the mark, we really do put great effort into understanding why and what, if anything, should be done.
We are certainly not perfect. But then, like the people involved in this discussion forum, the board members of WCRT are ordinary members of the community. We are trying to Balance
the demands of all sorts of issues in this area and, at the same time, to manage the inherent complexities of the Single Regeneration Budget system. We also have responsibilities as employers to the staff of WCRT, who work under great pressure and whose support and assistance to community groups is generally well regarded.
Disagreements of this kind are not pleasant, but all I ask is that those who read this string of e-mails understand that there are always two sides to any disagreement, and that it simply would not be fair or right to anyone involved to enter into details of either decision-making or individual behaviour in this or any other case.
Chair, Waterloo Community Regeneration Trust