Armstrong welcomes boost to charity sector

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong, Deputy Chair of the Communities Committee has welcomed plans to give the charity sector a financial boost as the coronavirus pandemic continues to bring financial pressures across all aspects of life in Northern Ireland.

The Alliance Party’s Communities spokesperson, Kellie was speaking after the latest Ministerial update in the Assembly – which also saw funding of £20.3 million announced to help local government recoup lost revenue.

She said: “There was a lot of positive steps forward in what was announced today, and I have praised the Minister, her department and the independent advice services who have been working hard to ensure all those in need are well supported.

“With a number of schemes now announced for the business community, it is fantastic to hear plans that a charity and social enterprise support grant will finally be unveiled. Our charity sector provides vital services across Northern Ireland and we must make sure it survives covid-19

“I hope the Minister will be able to quickly get this up and running and I will continue to push to see this implemented immediately. Charities need support to meet overheads to enable them to continue to deliver services now and after lockdown.

“I’m also glad to hear the support in place for local Councils. With a number of them experiencing a sharp loss in revenue from rates and other income, it is essential for the democratic process that they can continue to operate as full a service as this situation allows.

“We will emerge the other side of this pandemic as a different society. It should not have taken a global pandemic to ensure we take some issues within our society seriously. Good work has now been done on dealing with homelessness, to support vulnerable people and helping those overcome with debt. This must not be a wasted opportunity, but rather the start of real change in our community.”