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Communities Minister releases £200,000 for Coronavirus Community Fund

Communities Minister releases £200,000 for Coronavirus Community Fund

March 23, 2020

Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey MLA, has announced that she is providing £200,000 match funding to Community Foundation NI’s (CFNI) Coronavirus Community Fund.

The new fund is being used to support older people and other issues emerging from coronavirus. Grants of £1,000 are available however, applications for up to £2,500 of emergency funding to community organisations working with older people (aged 50 and over) to help them to deliver support around emerging issues relating to the virus, will be considered.

Minister Hargey said: “My Department is proud to see the proactive approach being taken by our colleagues in the Voluntary and Community Sector and I commend CFNI on their very quick response to the emerging crisis. This £400k fund will help to ease pressure for some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Earlier today the Minister brought together key partners to outline urgent measures for protecting and supporting communities in the face of COVID-19, and to lead and co-ordinate the response on the ground.

The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Leadership Group was co-chaired by the Department and the Red Cross, with support and input from local government, other departments and agencies, regional and local level community organisations and delivery groups, Neighbourhood Renewal leads and social enterprise partners.

Minster Hargey explained: “The collective leadership of government and grass roots community organisations working together has never been more important. My Department is taking a three-pronged approach to supporting the Voluntary and Community Sector response to COVID-19.

“We are focusing our efforts on maintaining existing community support by bringing in new levels of flexibility in our grant systems. I am also bringing forward a Community Support (Contingency) Fund – a significant funding stream for local delivery of services in our communities and regional infrastructural support.

“The meeting this morning is the third part of this response – working together with the Red Cross and other partners will allow us to co-ordinate effort and communications and maximise our impact on the ground. These measures will be supported by the temporary changes we have brought in across the benefit system to protect vulnerable people and ensure that our services are responding to the rising need across our society.”

Joanne McKenna from the Red Cross said: “Today we established the basis for the sort of collaboration and collective action that will be needed more than ever over the coming weeks and months. We are committed to bringing together shared knowledge, expertise and resources to direct our energies where they are needed most. By co-ordinating our efforts at regional and local levels we will be able to empower and equip communities to deal with this crisis and meet need where they find it.”

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