The scheme, which provides support to volunteer organisations, was not allocated any funding for the present financial year. However, Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong has now received a letter from the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities, stating the position had been reviewed and £200,000 has been allocated to it.
“At last there is some good news for volunteers and their organisations across Northern Ireland with the release of this money to the sector through the Volunteering Small Grants scheme. Groups can now apply for up to £500 to meet the costs of volunteer training or overheads such as heat, light or insurance. Fully constituted organisations which have a bank account and an income of under £100,000 per year can apply for this much needed support towards core costs for volunteering,” she said.
“While the money is welcome, it is disappointing the total allocation has been cut to a third of the previously available funding. It means the community is the real loser, as cutting support for volunteering has a direct negative impact on society and the people volunteers support.
“The reason for this delay and the uncertainty in the sector is due to the DUP and Sinn Féin – their inability or unwillingness to work together means we have no Executive and no Ministers to take these decisions in a timeframe to allow organisations the ability to plan ahead. If this impasse continues, the community will continue to be the losers.”
The grants are managed by the Limavady Community Development Initiative and applications can be made by contacting the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 028 77765438 and selecting option two.