VOLUNTARY organisations in York are at risk of being overwhelmed and underfunded, a York MP has claimed.

Hugh Bayley, MP for York Central, raised the issue at Parliament after a number of voluntary organisations saw demand for their services increase while Government funding was reduced.

Mr Bayley said: “I am becoming increasingly concerned about the number of charities and voluntary bodies in York that are struggling to find funds.

“When David Cameron became Prime Minister he said he supported the ‘Big Society’, but it’s withering away. If the Government want voluntary organisations to provide help for health and social problems they need to provide them with the resources to do it.”

Mr Bayley said he had met the chief officer of Age UK York, who had brought to his attention the difficulties of funding services for people with dementia, including running day clubs, and providing hot food, activities and company.

He said: “Funding isn’t guaranteed beyond September 2013. They are worried about where the future funding will come from. I have written to the Leeds Mental Health Trust who are responsible for providing dementia services for York to urge them to guarantee the funds to keep these day clubs open.

“This is happening with other charities too. The York Blind and partially Sighted Society have seen a huge increase in demand for their services and at the same time a cut in the amount of funding they receive. If the government want the Big Society they need to invest in it.”

In the House Of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Bayley asked Nick Hurd, parliamentary secretary how the Government would help provide resources for voluntary organisations.

Mr Hurd said: “The Government are doing a great deal to support our charities. We are encouraging giving, volunteering and social investment, and we are trying to make it easier for charities to help us to deliver public services.”