VOLUNTARY and charity groups across Cheshire West and Chester have had an assurance about their future funding.
The new council's Executive has agreed that, subject to affordability, it will continue to honour the funding arrangements made by the outgoing county and district councils with what it describes as the third sector - community and voluntary groups, the faiths and social enterprises.
The agreement covers the new financial year which starts on April 1, 2009 when Cheshire West and Chester takes over.
Otherwise, the organisations would need to consider various options including issuing redundancy notices, councillors were told.
The outgoing authorities, Cheshire County Council, Chester City Council and Ellesmere Port and Neston and Vale Royal Borough Councils, have various funding arrangements with the bodies which include small grants and contracts for specific services.
The shadow council says it has now agreed, in principle, to keep to these arrangements if the overall budget allows and to review the situation for the 2010/11 financial year.
Executive member for area neighbourhoods and community, Cllr John Grimshaw (Con, Eddisbury) commented:"The council is grateful for the work and services the third sector provides.
"Cheshire West and Chester Council is committed to supporting them in their important role, as this decision demonstrates.
"We will add further clarity to the situation as soon as possible."
The organisations range from Age Concern and the Citizens Advice Bureau to Cheshire Community Action, the Ellesmere Port and Neston Association of Voluntary and Community organisations and Vale Royal Disability Services.
They are developing an assembly for Cheshire West and Cheshire which aims to work on consultation, service delivery and neighbourhood working with the new council.
Councillors were told in a report there were concerns about future funding as many essential services are provided to local communities through voluntary organisations and charities.
It was "imperative" that these should continue but without the certainty of continuing funding arrangements, organisations would need to consider various options including issuing redundancy notices.