SOME of Darlington’s best known charities could see their futures threatened by the withdrawal of council support.

Darlington Borough Council is proposing to save £225,000 a year by withdrawing strategic grants to organisations including Age UK (£18,966), the Citizens Advice Bureau (£104,825), homelessness charity First Stop (£28,045), Darlington Association on Disability (DAD) (£10,000), Groundwork (£10,500) and the Volunteer Bureau (£20,000).

But in a double whammy, discretionary rate relief will also be cut, hitting the likes of Age UK, CAB, DAD, First Stop and others who were among 40 organisations last year who applied for such support. These proposals will save £34,000 a year.

Citizens Advice Darlington chief executive Neeraj Sharma said the loss of funding had “huge implications” for his organisation which has been in Darlington for more than 75 years.

Mr Sharma said the strategic grant paid for 100 volunteers who work in a volunteer centre, run the CAB’s reception and also carry out admin tasks.

He said: “It is a major concern and it is absolutely right to say that the organisation’s future could be at risk.

“Last year we helped 10,000 people and received 25,000 legal enquiries and this will undermine our ability to cope with the numbers we see day in day out.

“There are a lot of service providers who refer their vulnerable users to CAB to get the support they need.

“Every pound we receive we also invest wisely – we have already ensured we are as lean as possible – and we work hard to deliver some fantastic outcomes for the town.”

Mr Sharma said as a result of intervention by the CAB, more than £4m was secured for Darlington residents last year, money which was then spent in the town.

Gordon Pybus, chairman of DAD, which promotes independent living, said: “This will impact us fairly hard, but at the moment they are proposals and we need to look at the detail.

“It is hard at the moment for lots of charities. We are managing to maintain all of our services, but in the future we cannot guarantee that.”

As part of the council’s four year savings plan, a service which also helps the elderly, isolated and vulnerable to improve or adapt their homes so they can retain their independence is also being stopped, saving £15,475.

Two jobs would also go if a plan to withdraw the social fund budget, which provides crisis community support to the needy, is approved.