We're still in business but it's been a tough few months

I wrote a blog in early March about the devastating news we received from the Office for Civil Society (OCS) that we had been sifted out of the Strategic Partnership application process.

This meant that we would no longer be in receipt of vital core Government funding. We had bid for £500k which would enable us to continue our work in helping and encouraging people into volunteering. Something we've been proudly doing since 2000.

Of course we had planned for this eventuality in our budget forecasts, but like all scenario planning reality is a very different animal altogether. Along with my senior management team, we resisted knee-jerking and took some time to review our priorities going forward and what sort of staff structure would be needed to deliver the work. Undoubtedly this exercise also included seeing what activity was covered by core costs.

We took our plan for a slimmer TimeBank to our Trustees and staff for a month long consultation. Now that period is over it is with huge regret that we have had to let some of our talented and committed staff go. As you will have read today in the media this has meant 11 staff redundancies. Most of these staff members are in our IT, digital and communications teams which have been historically funded by core Government money.

Our focus is now centred on delivering our innovative volunteering project portfolio - like Shoulder to Shoulder, Back to Life and Parents First - as well as developing new projects which address a key social issue using the skills of volunteers. We're also still very much committed to running  Employee Volunteering schemes which are now showing real signs of growth.

If you are a volunteer or a beneficiary of one of these projects please be reassured that we are 100% committed to delivering the scheme in its entirety.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my staff for sticking with us through an unbelievably challenging time - they have been with us all the way, knowing that difficult decisions lay ahead. But these difficult decisions will buy us precious time to keep going until the funding climate becomes clearer.