Debdale Eco-Centre in *NOT* shutting down shocker

MCFly investigates a bad news story, and finds the truth isn’t quite as bad as had been reported…

On 14th October, Manchester Evening News published a story listing all the organisations facing funding cuts to be agreed at an upcoming meeing of Manchester City Council’s Executive. That list included Debdale Eco-Centre, which describes itself as “is one of the few eco-centres in Manchester focussing on organic gardening”. Its “Grow Your Own Food” project had received over £5,000 from the council in the previous year.

MCFly was at the October 26th Manchester City Council Executive meeting where those cuts were indeed agreed.

We contacted Jamie Dickinson, director of Hulme Community Garden Centre (and also responsible for Debdale Eco-Centre), and asked him if the “Grow Your Own Food” project was continuing. He told us the following.

“Yes, it is. We always work on the basis that Council funding will not be renewed and we work to ensure we have a broad funding base with various revenue streams. The Food project is actually a £300K multi-stranded range of projects so the £5K was a small (albeit welcome) part of a larger programme…. it complemented our current Local Food Program very well by providing transport costs for beneficiaries and additional materials. So, it’s a shame that it can’t continue but the project as a whole will be unaffected.
The big challenge will be finding money to continue in 2013 when the project finishes but we’re already looking at that now and we’re always trying to develop self-generated income to move us away from grant dependency. We’re in a much better position than a lot of organisations that rely solely on Council funding.”

He concluded

“I can’t emphasise enough the importance of having a fundraising strategy because cuts like the ones we’re seeing now can and have destroyed some really good organisations – a clear vision of where your money is going to come from can be the difference between going under and keeping going.”

The MEN’s 14th October story was not innacurate insofar as it went, but it was incomplete. This led to a certain amount of alarm and despondency among people who inferred that Debdale Eco-Centre itself was under threat. MCFly knows as well as anyone the pressures of not having enough time or resources to ask all the questions and provide complete context. Frankly, anyone who expects perfection for 47 pence per day is in dreamland. AND there is nothing on the Debdale Ecocentre’s website to allay people’s fears. BUT there has been no clarification from the MEN in the weeks since.

Further reading:
Flat Earth News: Nick Davies
Debdale Ecocentre’s “What We Do” page

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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