ALMOST half a million pounds of town hall cash is to be invested in supporting charities and faith groups develop "community cohesion" in Oldham.

Council bosses have agreed to gift nine groups across the borough with annual grants from their "Priority Programme Fund", community cohesion and community festival budgets, totalling £147,400.

A further £265,000 grant is also being proposed to support the work of Action Together, which runs a range of community projects, such as the Fullwood Rangers community garden and Adventure Based Learning, which helps young care leavers in Oldham.

The grant awards contribute to the core running costs of the groups, and helps them provide services that address "disadvantage, equality of opportunity and improve life chances for residents", according to the council.

The authority has been reducing its budget for community groups, cutting £40,000 from the grants it gave out last year.

Greenacres Community Association, Werneth and Freehold Community Development Project (CDP), Oldham Credit Union, and the Oldham Interfaith Forum are set to receive the lion’s share of funding for 2018/19.

The remaining £11,400 will be divided between Stop Hate UK, Oldham Carnival, National Play Day and Oldham Pride.

But Oldham Race Equality Partnership, which works to stamp out hate crime, will be get no town hall cash after bosses decided to review its governance structure and made staff redundant.

Council chiefs told the group they did not feel they were getting value for money because it did not have the ‘capacity to achieve significant impact’ in the community.

A report by the council’s ‘stronger communities manager’ reads: “As a result the organisation will not be undertaking any project work for the foreseeable future, as this will allow the board time to reshape their governance arrangements and develop a new business plan to identify their future direction.”

Funding for the Werneth and Freehold CDP has been increased, and the officer adds that council investment has helped the group attracted around £250,000 a year in external funding.