The voluntary sector is stretched to breaking point, according to the boss of Brighton’s biggest community organisation.

Sally Polanski, CEO at Community Works in Queens Road, said that if Brighton and Hove City Council makes further cuts to the sector in its forthcoming budget, the survival of some charities in the city will be in question.

Ms Polanski said that community organisations in Brighton and Hove had managed to buck the trend so far by snaring funds from outside the city.

She said ten charities in the city brought in £2 million from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities Programme.

Projects within this included £155,156 for Speakout to improve access for people with learning disabilities to advice, advocacy and support, £356,702 to Rise for tackling domestic violence and sexual abuse and £96,199 to Refugee Radio for reducing isolation amongst BME communities and migrants.

Community Works was launched this week following the merger of Community and Voluntary Sector Forum (CVSF), the Volunteer Centre, Performance Development Service and Skills Exchange.

Ms Polanski said: “I think while the voluntary andcommunity sector is currently bucking the trend, we mustn’t overlook that many organisations are vulnerable.

They are increasingly relying on their reserves and are stretched to the max, with increasing demand and variable levels of resources.”

The community and voluntary sector named their top performers at the Sector Star Awards, sponsored by American Express.

Barry Hulyer, chief executive at the Trust for Developing Communities, picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award. Other award winners were Young People’s Voice at Allsorts, which took the outstanding Voluntary Contribution Award and Brighton Housing Trust START which was named Members’ Choice.

Presenting the award to Barry Hulyer, Simon Fanshawe, OBE, said:”Barry has fought the corner for residents of this city for almost 40 years and leaves behind a legacy of social justice, infrastructure and a living model of howcommunities can be empowered. Quite simply Barry has made this city a better place to live.”