Charity sector needs financial help to ensure it survives pandemic, says Armstrong

The charity sector needs financial help to ensure it survives the coronavirus pandemic, Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said.

Ms Armstrong said opening up grant schemes to include charities and social enterprises would be a major step towards making sure they can continue delivering services after the COVID-19 crisis.

“The community and voluntary sector has provided an amazing level of community support throughout this crisis. That has included delivering food parcels, keeping in touch with isolated older people and people shielding, making scrubs for nurses and doctors, developing new ways to meet community needs and creating services to help people with mental health issues,” she said.

“However, at today’s Assembly Communities Committee, MLAs heard 69 per cent of charities and social enterprises will close within 12 months if they do not receive financial support soon. While a fund of £15.5 million will be made available, there has been no clarification on the criteria to be used or who will be administrating any grants.

“Charities need support the same way they have supported society during this pandemic. With over 6,000 registered charities in Northern Ireland, bringing over £1.5 billion into our economy, there is a concern a huge hole could be left if many were to disappear. That would deprive those most in need of the essential services they provide. The sector needs financial help before it is too late.”