Anna Lo MLA said: “After previously failing to provide any information on the next round of funding, OFMDFM have finally announced details for applications to the Minority Ethnic Development Fund for 2015/16. This funding helps many groups provide vital work for ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland.
“It is scandalous that they are only making this announcement on the 27thMarch, when the current round of funding is due to end on the 31stMarch. OFMDFM had left many organisations in the dark about this fund. I cannot understand why they could not have made this announcement earlier, which would have allowed groups to properly plan their budget for the next financial year. OFMDFM have indicated that the closing date for applications will be the 27thApril but I want to know when organisations will receive funding and what they are meant to do until then. This is very poor planning – it is totally unacceptable. This is a shambles.
“I have been calling for OFMDFM to provide information about this fund, but they wouldn’t even answer an Assembly Question I submitted in January, even though they were meant to provide an answer within a couple of days.
“I met with the Junior Ministers earlier this week and urged them to adopt a simpler alternative that would extend the current round of funding for another year instead of leaving a gap and starting a new process which would only last for nine months.”