Cuts in funding for Redbridge voluntary groups will hit teenagers

The founder of a voluntary group which aims to bring young people out of isolation says teenagers will be marginalised even more after her group was turned down for funding by the council.

Elizabeth Kayembe made an impassioned plea in the council chamber at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, during Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

But despite her plea, Sizanani Africa, which she founded in 2000, was one of seven projects turned down for voluntary and community sector funding by the Tory/Lib Dem administration.

Nineteen other groups did receive funding.

Mrs Kayembe was asking for �9,000 from the council to help educate 45 16-19-year-olds from the black and ethnic minority community in Redbridge in numeracy, literacy, English as a second language and employment.

But a failure to provide the “vital” funding, which would have been match funded by the group, means the training scheme cannot be run.

She said: “This will affect a number of young people who are already marginalised and already deprived.

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“Without this funding they will not get the support they need to come out of dependency.”

The 43-year-old of Gants Hill added: “The training would have developed these young people so they would be ready to face life.

“The training they get also has a positive impact on their family so it’s a huge benefit.”

The funding was turned down because the council felt the project would replicate work done by both Barnabas Workshops and the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London – something Mrs Kayembe said was not the case.

Bashir Chaudhry, chairman of the League of British Muslims, also spoke in the council chamber after his group was turned down for a �14,800 grant to fund the strengthening of voluntary and community groups within the black and ethnic minority community.

Adult social services cabinet member Cllr John Fairley-Churchill said: “Nobody ever agrees they get enough funding but this council is doing its best.” He added: “We’re waiting for a new report that will review our criteria and look at additional funding for grants.”

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