CAVRA on exercise in Cardiff Bay.

CAVRA on exercise in Cardiff Bay.

A request from  CAVRA – the Sully-based “Civil Aid Volunteer Rescue Association” – for a £3,500 grant from the Welsh Church Act Fund – administered by the Vale of Glamorgan Council – is being recommended for refusal.

Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George

Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George

The Welsh Church Act Fund is a self-sustaining charity which was originally set up by Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George but which is administered by local authorities in their respective areas – in this case the Vale of Glamorgan Council .

A council sub-committee is authorised to assess local applications for grants  from the fund to qualifying bodies  which provide a wide variety of public good works in the following areas:-

  • Educational facilities,
  • Relief in sickness,
  • Relief in need,
  • Libraries, museums, art galleries etc,
  • Social and recreational facilities in general
  • Protection of historic buildings
  • Medical and social research,
  • Probation
  • Blind persons
  •  Aged persons
  • Places of worship and burial grounds
  • Emergencies or disasters
  • Other charitable purposes

CAVRA, a registered charity, has received over £105,000 in funding, including substantial UK Government grants including one of £40,000 for a new rescue boat – its third . It has stated  that in 2016 it attended 12 incidents and rescued 7 people but –  unlike the RNLI and Coastguard –  it says it reserves the right not to disclose information about its rescues “under the Data Protection Act 1998.”

CAVRA had told the Welsh Church Act Fund Estate that it needed £3,500 for the repair of a derelict equipment store which had been  “donated” to the charity by Sully Sports and Social Club.

However council officials, who vet Welsh Church Act funding applications, state in an internal report that they have inspected  a copy of the licence pertaining to  the building and have now raised concerns that “the building will revert to the Sully Sport and Social Club at the end of the term”. They recommend CAVRA gets nothing.

A dedicated Vale of Glamorgan Council committee meets later this month to consider the recommendations in the report and to make the final decisions on the latest round of awards from the Welsh Church Act Estate .

The entrance of St Peter's Church at Old Cogan - the oldest building in Penarth

The entrance of St Peter’s Church at Old Cogan – the oldest building in Penarth

All Saints Church in Penarth – which had applied for a grant of £10,000 towards the cost of developing a car park  at the ancient St Peter’s Church at Old Cogan – is being recommended for a  grant of  £5,000.

All Saints had not submitted building quotations to support its application –  which it must to do in order to receive the funding . In future, grants from the Welsh Church Act Fund are to be  limited to a ceiling of £5,000.

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  1. Chris David says:

    Good- if an organisation is not prepared to offer full disclosure it shouldn’t be entitled to public funds. As for the church requests- ten of the Church Commissioners (a charity and the third biggest in the UK) takes out over £100,000 PA + benefits. CoE’s Tom Joy’s total salary package is £409,000+. Camels and needle eyes! They need to re-think.

  2. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I might be able to shed a little light on the situation in regards to the CAVRA application I am on the committee and it was myself who flagged up several concerns over the application at the previous meeting.

    Whilst I am supportive of any organisation which helps the public whether in rescue situations or socially I did have certain concerns and observations over ths grant application.

    The annual grants distributed by this committee are not huge in total, memory fails me slightly here but I think that I would be right in saying that the annual figure does not exceed around £40,000

    So a £3,500 grant would represent a significant chunk of the yearly total.

    I am aware that CAVRA occupy a section of the sheds on Sully Sports land immediately adjacent to the Library where they store their equipment, some sections of the roofs of these sheds appear to be in a poor state of repair.

    I was made aware of the grant application a week before the last meeting of the Welsh Church Act fund and my concerns over this application were these :-

    1) Did CAVRA have a lease or legal agreement guaranteeing them a period of tenure? If not it seems that any grant could be spent on repairing the buildings of what is essentially a privately owned club and if there was no protection of tenure then that could mean that CAVRA could leave at any time or be asked to leave any time after the repairs had been made to the property of what is a private company.

    2) I and others on the committee were also concerned that the secretary of the Sports and Social club was in fact also the chairman of the Welsh Church Acts funds committee.

    Whilst the chairman of the Welsh Church Acts funds committee quite properly declared an interest and left the room whilst this application was discussed there were concerns of how a possible approval of such a grant would appear to neutral observers especially given the lack of evidence of future tenure at the property of the applicants.

    3) It seemed strange that a grant should have been applied for given that there was at that time a live planning application for housing on the site which if granted presumably would have meant the demolition of the newly repaired buildings.

    I would point out that to be fair to the applicants I contacted the Vale officials dealing with the application in order to request off CAVRA evidence of a long term lease and to offer the opportunity for them send a representative of their organisation to make a presentation to the committee if they wished, but the Vale officials informed the committee that neither opportunity had been taken up.

  3. Dan Potts says:

    What do CAVRA do to justify their funding ? At the summer festival for example stJohns Ambulance volunteers where out and about helping people but all CAVRA seemed to do all day was to drive round and round the town and the cliff tops in their Landrover towing their nice new Shiney boat , what did that achieve ? Apart from wasting deisel !

  4. Frank Evans says:

    What is carva. Why do acronyms got to sound like real word.
    I’m starting my own charity.
    Campaign against not very accurate speeling

  5. Chris David says:

    Cavernously Attempted No Value Added Scheme. Well they wont tell us what they’ve done will they!

  6. James says:

    Im curious how an online blog has access to internal reports that are probably confidential.

    • Kevin Mahoney says:

      The public are welcome to attend most council meetings including that of the Welsh Church Act fund committee where these matters and applications were and are discussed, just as planning applications are discussed openly in public view and hearing at planning meetings.

      • john64 says:

        I was under the impression that applications for financial assistance are always dealt with under “Part Two” where the press and public are excluded. Am I correct Cllr. Mahoney?

  7. Chris David says:

    Everything should be public except for personal or disciplinary matters relating to staff- but not councillors.

  8. Kevin Mahoney says:

    No, applications are in heard in public outside of part two, In fact two representatives of a applicant were present at a recent meeting to provide information backing their application.

    Perhaps we should put things in perspective here, as I mentioned above the total annual amount given out in grants amounts to no more than about the £40,000 mark, using the yearly interest accrued from the funds assets it is not council money collected from council ratepayers. Most applications are from church organisations for minor improvements and works to church properties perhaps a couple of £thousand for a new floor or roof to an outbuilding or fitting out a new kitchen in a church hall for example.

    If there was anything out of the ordinary that required confidentiality I have no doubt that it would be heard with the public asked to leave under part two conditions.

    When mentioning that the public are quite welcome to attend and observe meetings of the Welsh Church Act fund committee the two gentlemen mentioned above are the only two members of the public that I can recall attending a meeting during the past couple of years that I have been on the committee.

    One can only presume that even the keenest of council watchers have decided that watching and listening to a couple of councillors deciding whether to award £700 or so for a new sink unit for a church hall out of a charitable fund is even too mundane for them to give up their time to attend.

    You would have to enquire of the editor as to which source he collated his information for the report on this matter that we are commenting on.

  9. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I should perhaps clarify the opening sentence of my previous post in case the comma after the first word, no, is not that apparent leading to confusion. All grant applications are heard in public not in secret under part two.

    Thank you

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