CHARITIES are joining forces to challenge council plans to reduce funding for Ealing Community Network by 25% to £30,000 a year.

ECN acts as a collective voice for the voluntary sector in the borough, with more than 550 community groups as members.

It particularly aims to support the work of smaller voluntary groups

ECN is concerned the council is proposing the cut while it is spending £1m on private consultants, through its Better Lives programme, to find savings in support for vulnerable residents

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Chairman Andy Roper, in a letter to all councillors, wrote: “In recent years, the council has cut ECN funding by 60% but there has not been a 60% reduction in partnership requests. Far from it - partnership requests are increasing.

“The nub of the issue is whether or not the council is actually serious about future overall partnership work with the voluntary sector

“We are not requesting an increase in funding, just to maintain current ECN funding.”

A copy of the letter has also gone to Ealing’s MPs.