OFM is a grassroots community co-operative that encountered Prevent toxicity in the charity sector when their core funding source demanded they undergo counter-extremism training.
OFM is made up of volunteers from its locality. They focus on building economic development and regeneration practices to benefit the local community.
As part of delivering these adult learning courses, OFM was granted funding by a body whose core funding comes from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
To receive the funding, OFM were informed that they were required to attend the Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent (WRAP) training. OFM were unaware that this was an obligation to receive the funding, but they decided that they did not wish to attend the training.
OFM explained their choice, saying that Prevent is viewed with suspicion by a large section of the local community. OFM said that engaging with such a programme would destroy the trust and respect that the organisation relies upon to engage with sections of the community and would therefore disable the organisations ability to carry out their work.
OFM attended several meetings to mediate with the funding body to see whether the funding could be released without having to attend the WRAP training. However, the funding was not granted.
The case displays how government funding has been tied to Prevent training. OFM recognised the ‘toxic’ nature of Prevent in the third sector, and the potential damage it could do to the trust between them and the local community.
The outcome on the organisation was devastating as OFM closed key services due to the lack of funding.