28/02/2003

Cash windfall for voluntary sector

The voluntary and community sector are set to benefit from a massive cash injection announced today by Finance Minister Ian Pearson.

Nearly £7 million has been released to fund 154 community and voluntary groups across Northern Ireland from the Social Inclusion and Community Regeneration Fund.

The allocations follow the Executive’s decision in October last year to make £6 million available to help meet immediate pressures on services provided by the community and voluntary sector.

The Executive’s intention for this funding initiative was to ensure that worthwhile services provided by the voluntary and community sector to people suffering from, or in danger of, social exclusion can be maintained in the short-term. At the same time, longer-term issues concerning the funding of the sector are being considered by a DSD Taskforce on Resourcing the Community and Voluntary Sector.

The amounts sought from organisations varied considerably. In addition the Executive had set an upper limit of £100,000 to be allocated to any one project.

Announcing the allocations, the Minister said: “Many organisations, providing valuable services to the community, will benefit from these awards. This will support the continued provision of these services to people suffering from or in danger of social exclusion.

“In the longer term the current review of financing the sector by the DSD-led Taskforce, will help identify ways to ensure that the voluntary and community sector can continue to make a valuable contribution to the delivery of government policy and to the general well-being of people in Northern Ireland.”

(GMcG)

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