Alliance Calls For Commitment To Support NI's Sports Bodies

The Alliance Party has called on the Communities Minister to make a commitment to support sports bodies in the upcoming Budget before jobs are lost.

Strangford MLA and Communities spokesperson, Kellie Armstrong, made the call after hosting an Assembly event on building a united community through sport. She said many sports organisations were faced with no other option but to let staff go.

"Since the return of the institutions, I have met and heard from a number of sporting organisations. They have all said without clarity regarding the upcoming Budget, many of their staff will lose their jobs," she said.

"Many of them have been burned before when it comes to finances and discussions with the Department. Unless the Minister puts in writing confirmation of forthcoming funding, groups right across the sector will lose skilled staff, as they will have to be made redundant to limit liability.

"I had the privilege to host this event about sport building a united community, which showcased some of the excellent work our largest sporting bodies do to bring young people together through sporting traditions they would otherwise not interact with. But the successful work of the IFA, Ulster Rugby, Ulster GAA, Belfast Giants and others is being undermined by a lack of sustainable funding.

"That's why we need to see confirmation from the Minister and a move to multi-year Budgets. If we want to see confidence and trust, then we need to provide sustainable funding streams. Organisations need to know government has their back and will provide consistent funding to deliver outcomes.

"This also means we need to reform the institutions to ensure the collapses seen previously no longer happen, allowing sporting organisations and others to plan long-term and repair the damage done by previous impasses."

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