Armstrong concerned community lifelines being abandoned

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said she’s ‘extremely concerned’ community lifelines provided by the Community and Voluntary sector will be abandoned as Northern Ireland continues without a budget.

The MLA for Strangford spoke out as the Northern Ireland civil service prepared to take control over how Northern Ireland spends its budget tomorrow, adding the failure was a ‘direct consequence of the political instability’ created by the DUP and Sinn Fein’s inability to work together.

Kellie Armstrong MLA said: “The ongoing uncertainty over the budget has meant Departments are unable to issue grants or contracts for 2017/2018. While some organisations are receiving short term funding, many are facing the start of the new financial year without any agreements in place.

“Any charity facing such a funding crisis must take mitigating actions to prevent insolvency. This will mean ending service delivery, making staff redundant and even closure of company. The result will be the most vulnerable, isolated and marginalised will pay the price as support services are removed.

“No one in the Community and Voluntary sector wants this. Having worked in the sector for almost 20 years I know how frustrating and devastated community workers will be.

“All organisations will give their utmost to ensure all actions will be taken to protect beneficiaries as much as possible. But without funding that is a situation that will not last very long.

“Any loss of qualified and capable staff, programme or company closures is counterproductive as the planned Programme for Government depends on these people and services to deliver outcomes.”

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