EASTBOIURNE Borough Council prides itself on the support it gives to charities and voluntary groups.

But this may all now be cancelled due to the pandemic.

The council has announced giving money to local groups won’t be happening anytime soon.

Its statement this morning says: “Given the challenging financial situation being experienced by the council as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and resultant economic downturn, it has been decided to delay the start of this year’s small grants to voluntary organisations programme.

“The uncertainty of the financial climate means that the council has decided to take time to review its position before any grant applications are requested.

“During this pause, the council will continue to provide its ongoing grant support to key organisations in the town such as CAB, Age Concern, Brighton Housing Trust, but will not be requesting any new applications.

“Further information will be issued in due course. Training associated with the grant scheme is also cancelled.”

This will come as a huge blow to the voluntary sector in Eastbourne but is hardly surprising.

Eastbourne Borough Council could be facing a budget deficit of up to £9.9m this financial year.

The figures came in a report on the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stephen Holt, cabinet member for financial services, said: “Like all councils across the country, we are finding ways of reducing costs and making savings but it remains clear that we are in a very challenging financial position.

“While we have received some support from government, a substantial amount more is needed – it must live up to its promise to compensate councils for the impact of Covid-19.

“Alongside continual lobbying of government to fulfill its funding pledge, we are exploring all options to ensure a sustainable financial future and continuing to make efficiencies wherever possible and reviewing our costs.

“Councils the length and breadth of the country are in severe financial difficulties due to the Covid-19 crisis.

“In Eastbourne, residents are assured we are doing all we can to minimise this impact and maintain frontline services in the town.

“Despite government being vague in their support, our number one priority is to make sure our residents are supported during Covid-19.”