There were scenes of anger at the town hall last night as more than 120 volunteers protested at the cabinet meeting to ratify swingeing cuts across the third sector.

Dozens of local charities and volunteer organisations will be left devastated by the loss of £1.2million.

Men, women and children gathered at the town hall last night to ask the Conservative cabinet to stop the cuts.

A widespread outcry from the voluntary sector saw the council create a £350,000 transition fund to help charities which will be forced to close when their funding dries up.

Councillor Vidhi Mohan, cabinet member for communities, told the meeting: “This is a radical new approach to the council relationship with the voluntary sector.

“We have been consulting with the voluntary sector for the past few years on this.”

As the public meeting started, chaos reigned with more than 50 people left crowded outside the town hall doors, including small children, some elderly and disabled people on crutches due to lack of space.

Peter Clark, 75, a board member of Together in Waddon, could not get into the meeting. He was left on the steps balancing on his walking stick.

He said: “I thought it was disgraceful, I walked all the way to the meeting. If you are not represented at a public meeting, how can it be democratic? I am going to the council meeting next week and I fully expect to be able to attend.”

A council spokesman said: “The public gallery can only hold as many people as it can hold. There are other rooms available but last night residents’ association meetings were being held in the two main ones.”

Conservative cabinet members, who have just voted themselves a whopping pay rise deferred for a year, walked out of the council chamber after being berated by Labour Councillor Alison Butler and members of the public gallery.

To cries of “shame” and “disgraceful” from the onlookers, Coun Butler said: “We have 50 people shut outside the front door who cannot even come into a public meeting.”

She asked why no provision had been made for the expected high turn out.

Coun Fisher, the council leader, threatened to walk out of the chamber if order was not restored and retreated from the room as he was slow-clapped by the 94 people in the public gallery who stamped their feet and shouted: “Out! out! out!”

When the cabinet returned council chief executive Jon Rouse read out the amendment to the voluntary cuts proposal, promising a £350,000 transition fund for struggling charities.

The proposal was passed by members of the cabinet.

Councillor Louisa Woodley, shadow cabinet member for the voluntary sector, said: “This transition fund is nothing more than a complete smokescreen to deflect some of the anger people feel. It is a sticking plaster to help groups wind up, they are still going ahead with the cuts. These cuts will have a devastating effect on the community at the time when they most need voluntary services.”

A full council meeting to discuss the issues will be held next Monday July 19.

Labour opposition leader Tony Newman said: “We are calling on the community to come and protest at next Monday’s meeting. I am urging Croydon Council to make sure that there is proper provision for the public so we never again have the disgrace of the public locked out of the town hall.”

The borough’s most vulnerable residents, ethnic minorities and the elderly are the biggest losers as smaller charities will be forced to close when grant money from the council is axed in October.

Out of the 47 organisations previously funded through the corporate funding budget only six will get £625,000 worth of council grants through the Stronger Community fund which has replaced it.

Reduced funding will go to Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA), Croydon Black and Minority Ethnic Forum, Croydon Asian Resource Centre, Croydon Disability Forum, Croydon Neighbourhood Watch, and the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

MP for Croydon North Malcolm Wicks has written to the Prime Minister asking him to meet with a delegation of members from the local organisations to hear about the work they do.